04/02/2016 9:11 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Coles And Woolworths Lettuce Just 'Tip Of The Iceberg'

Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
Farmers hands harvesting organic lettuce cutting base of stems

Woolworths and Coles are urgently recalling pre-packaged salads which have been linked to a salmonella outbreak, infecting 28 people so far.

Two people have been hospitalised, with a spokesman from The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services warning Australians the infection could be fatal for those with compromised immune systems.

The health department identified the outbreak after noticing the high number of cases and then linking them back to the pre-packaged products, grown and distributed by Victorian company Tripod Farmers.

Coles pre-packaged spinach, rocket and 4 leaf salad are all affected. The supermarket released a statement on Thursday night advising customers that the affected products had been removed from stores.

Any pre-packaged lettuce with a use-by-date on or after February 12 is safe, with Coles advising customers to throw out or return affected products for a full refund.

Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania stores are not affected, according to the supermarket chain.

Coles has taken immediate steps to remove from sale a selection of pre-packed lettuce products in VIC, NSW, ACT, NT and...

Posted by Coles on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Woolworths also released a statement on Thursday night claiming only stores in Victoria, New South Wales and ACT were affected with the supermarket chain recalling baby spinach, salad mix and baby rocket pre-packaged salads. The loose mescluin and baby spinach were also recalled by the supermarket chain.

Woolworths said these products with a use-by-date on or before February 14 should be thrown out or returned to stores, offering customers a full refund.

Woolworths takes customer safety very seriously. Following advice from Victoria Health relating to a number of cases of...

Posted by Woolworths on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services advised Australians feeling unwell or concerned to visit their local doctor.

"We do expect to see more cases," the department's senior medical advisor Dr Finn Romanes said.

Dr Romanes told media with the amount of products, and the high distribution around the country, the current infections were just the "tip of the iceberg".

"We are working with the company to understand what may have occurred... They have instituted a comprehensive clean-up to make sure any risk is minimised."