(Oct. 10) SAN DIEGO — Salad mix that has been linked to an outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 in the San Diego area has been recalled.

The outbreak was reported at several San Diego-area schools, as well as five Pat & Oscar’s restaurants in the metropolitan area, San Diego County health officials said.

Pam McCoy, director of child nutrition services for the San Marcos United School District, identified the companies who supplied the product as Family Tree Produce, an Anaheim-based distributor, and Gold Coast Produce, Oxnard.

Gold Coast is not affiliated with Gold Coast Packing Co. Inc., a Santa Maria-based foodservice distributor, said John Schaefer, foodservice sales manager of that company.

Family Tree only distributes and does not process product, said Bob Kaspereen, that firm’s general manager.

“It’s not traced to us,” Kaspereen said. “It’s all under investigation by the (state) health department. We’re just a distributor; we don’t do any processing here.”

Kaspereen said that his company gets products from “a number of people. We don’t buy from just one.”

He declined to comment in any further detail.

“We are taking precautions,” he said. “We’re kind of directing everything to the (state) health department.”

McCoy told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Family Tree had picked up the products and replaced them with fresh produce from another company at the 12 schools it supplied within the district.

Meanwhile, the outbreak, which as of Oct. 8 had affected 20 people, appeared to be under control.

“We have moved very quickly to identify common sources and are taking necessary precautions to protect the general public,” Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s deputy health officer, told the Union-Tribune.

County officials said that the source of the E. coli was salad made from a mix.

Nearly all 20 of those affected spent at least one day in the hospital. Some were still hospitalized, but all were expected to recover, according to health officials Oct. 9.

Wooten said that state and federal food and drug officials had examined the two suppliers and were next going to visit a farm in northern California where the lettuce was grown, in search of the possible source of contamination.