Why Hy-Vee Has Pulled All Of Its Potato Salad From Store Shelves

At the beginning of July, Hy-Vee issued a massive recall of all its potato salads from its stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. These, as the company listed in a news bulletin on their website, include the Old Fashioned Potato Salad, the Country Style Potato Salad, the Dijon Mustard Potato Salad, the Green Onion and Egg Potato Salad, the Chipotle Ranch Potato Salad, the Diced Red Skin Potato Salad, and the Loaded Baked Potato Salad. Additionally, they also recalled the Old Fashioned Potato Salad, the Country Style Potato Salad, and the Dijon Mustard Potato Salad that are sold under the Mealtime brand. The expiration date of the affected potato salads are between July 31 and August 4.

The company has issued such a massive recall because of a microbial test on the line where the potatoes are processed. While the results have yet to come back to the company, it's presumed that the results will be positive. To preempt any sickness, Hy-Vee has issued a voluntary recall. The company hasn't received any reports of sickness yet, and anyone who had purchased the suspect potato salads can receive a full refund.

Potatoes can be just as contaminated as mayonnaise

When people hear that a potato salad caused a party to develop some kind of sickness, most would probably assume that the mayonnaise is at fault. After all, it contains eggs, which are well-known for becoming contaminated with salmonella (per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). However, potatoes can also cause sickness. First, there is the manner brought up by Hy-Vee in their announcement: processing equipment in contact with the potatoes — in the Hy-Vee case a processing line — that is suspect. The company refrained from explaining why they harbored suspicions, but contamination during the production process is often why a product has to be recalled.

Another potential issue detailed by Michigan State University is that bacteria congregate on foods with high pH levels at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you leave potatoes, which have a high pH level, out at room temperature for a long time, bacteria can develop. This is exacerbated by the moisture introduced by mayonnaise. So, even though mayo does work its way into the equation, there is plenty of room for sicknesses to creep in without being egged on.