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Food Safety Issues/Plastic container of chicken salad blew lid off


I bought 2 containers of Sonoma Chicken Salad from Whole Foods. They both are in clear plastic containers with a safety tear strip to be torn off before being able to open the container.
I never keep them past the "use by" date. I was moving some stuff around in the refrigerator and touched the top of an unopened container and the lid exploded off which had to be a lot of pressure because the tear strip was still attached to the lid it blew off. It had not been opened but I threw it in the trash figuring some sort of gas/bacteria had built up.  The other container I was eating from seemed OK.  However a couple of days later, its lid blew off too?  I threw it out too. I did touch some of the chicken salad getting it into the trash. I have grandchildren and not sure what caused this and if I should do any sterilizing of refrigerator.  The chicken stayed in the container, just the lid blew off.
I read on Whole Foods recipe site that it does contain apple cider and mayo. Could this be botulism?And if not what would cause this. Thanks!

Wow Maggie -- exploding chicken salad in your refrigerator!

I've never heard of this occuring and am a lost as to what would have caused the lids to blow off but I'm confident it is not C. botulinum.  C. botulinum only occurs in canned products where there is absolutely no air as it only vegetates in an oxygen free environment.  Plastic containers are not vaccum sealed so even if C. botulinium spores were present they would not vegetate and cause harm.

You really need to contact Whole Foods and tell them of this situation.  Unfortunatley, you have thrown away the containers which I'm sure they would like to know the codes found on them to help get at the bottom of this strange occurance.  Even without the containers I would contact them.  ou can find the contact form for consumer complaints for Whole foods at the following URL:

I'm sorry I can not help you more and I'm hopeful Whole Foods will have the answer for you.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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