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Decomposed bat in salad mix? CDC investigates

An unwelcome intruder allegedly found its way into a packaged salad mix, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test for rabies.

northernlongearedbatsteventhomasnps.jpg

This Northern long-eared bat was not the one found in the salad mix.

Steven Thomas/National Park Service

There are some things you expect to find in a salad mix, like lettuce and perhaps some arugula. But something a little more flighty might have slipped into a package of salad mix sold in the US. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took up the case of investigating a dead bat discovered in a packaged salad.

That bat was allegedly found in an Organic Marketside Spring Mix sold in a Walmart store in Florida. The salad mix's maker, Fresh Express, on Saturday announced a limited "precautionary recall" of related packages of the mix.

Florida health authorities forwarded the bat's remains to the CDC to check for rabies, a disease sometimes carried by bats in the US. "Two people in Florida reported eating some of the salad before the bat was found," the CDC calmly notes in a release.

The CDC says the risk of transmission of rabies through eating an infected animal is very low.

"The deteriorated condition of the bat did not allow for CDC to definitively rule out whether this bat had rabies," the agency concluded. The CDC recommended the salad eaters begin "post-exposure rabies treatment," though both appear healthy and show no signs of rabies, according to the CDC.

Fresh Express isn't quite willing to concede the whole bat-in-a-salad thing just yet. The company says "extraneous animal matter was allegedly found in a single container of the salad." Fresh Express says it has launched an intensive investigation and is reviewing all relevant records.

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