The Grapevine

Dole Packaged Salads Linked To Fatal Listeria Outbreak: CDC

Salad
Dole Salads voluntarily recalls packaged greens produced in contaminated facility. Pixabay

Dole packaged salads have been linked to a multi-sate listeria outbreak that has killed one and hospitalized 11 others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the past six months, people from six states, including the person who died in Michigan, have contracted the bacterial illness. People from Massachusetts, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York have also been hospitalized, including a pregnant woman, according to ABC News. The CDC, public health officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) got together to investigate the outbreak in September, two months after the first illness was reported.

Officials believe the contaminated salads were produced in the company's processing facility in Springfield, Ohio, after five people reported eating packaged salad the month before becoming ill. Of these five, two reported eating various varieties of Dole-branded salads. Not to mention tests from The Ohio Department of Agriculture showed the listeria isolate from the Dole "Field Greens" packaged salad was related to isolates from ill people.

Dole officials took to Facebook on Friday to say it had ceased production at the Ohio facility "out of abundance of caution," ABC reported. The company also said it will withdraw all other packaged salads that may have been produced in this facility.

At this time, there is no evidence linking listeria and packaged salads produced at other Dole processing facilities in the United States.

The CDC recommends consumers do not eat, restaurants do not serve, and retailers do not sell packaged salads containing the letter "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. The packaged salads are sold under various brand names, including Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President's Choice.

"Other Dole products, including fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and packaged salads from Dole's other processing facilities (with product codes beginning with the letters "B" or "N"), are not part of this voluntary withdrawal," the company said.

Listeria, a serious foodborne bacterial illness that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems, is responsible for approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths each year in the U.S., according to the CDC. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, nausea, and fever. Its incubation period, between three and 70 days, makes the infection difficult to track, so it's important to proceed with caution.

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