Two people in Florida found an unexpected – and rather bizarre – surprise in their salad container, which they bought at a local Walmart. Mixed in with the greens were the remains of a dead bat, authorities said.
The bat was identified as a Mexican free-tailed bat, and was sent to a laboratory of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for rabies testing, The New York Times reports. Animals in the USA tend to carry the disease, the CDC stated. However, the bat was too decomposed for any tests to determine definitively whether or not it had rabies.
The CDC added that transmission of rabies by eating an infected animal is “extremely uncommon,” as the virus does not survive for too long outside.
Florida health officials have been monitoring the people who ate the salad. So far, they all report being in good health, with no symptoms of rabies. According to the CDC,
In this circumstance, the risk of rabies transmission is considered to be very low, but because it isn’t zero, the two people who ate salad from the package that contained the bat were recommended to begin post-exposure rabies treatment.
Based on the condition of the bat, it was likely in the salad container for “a number of days,” the CDC said. Also known as a Brazilian free-tailed bat, the species is commonly found throughout the USA, Mexico, Central America and southwestern South America.
The CDC has not received any further reports of bats found in other packaged salads, and it remains unclear where or when the bat was found. The consumers’ identities were not released, to protect their privacy, Thomas W. Skinner from the CDC said.
The dead bat was found in a five-ounce container of Organic Marketside Spring Mix manufactured by Fresh Express. The company issued a recall on Saturday “out of an abundance of caution” after it was notified that “extraneous animal matter was allegedly found” in their product.
The recalled salads were distributed only to Walmart stores in the Southeast, and no other Marketside salads or Fresh Express salads were included. Barbara H. Hines, a spokesperson for the company, noted that there was no reason to believe this was “anything other than an isolated incident.”