dole-recall_31019Smoking gun found:  On January 28, 2016, the FDA completed its analysis and confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a packaged salad produced at the Springfield, Ohio, facility.

15 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from eight states since July 5, 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (5), and Pennsylvania (1). Listeria specimens were collected from ill people between July 5, 2015 and January 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age is 64. Seventy-three percent of ill people are female. All fifteen (100%) ill people reported being hospitalized, including one person from Michigan who died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections in five provinces. Epidemiological evidence has confirmed seven cases of Listeria monocytogenes across five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario 3, Quebec 1, New Brunswick 1, Prince Edward Island 1 and Newfoundland and Labrador 1. All cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died.

On January 21, 2016, Dole reported to FDA and CDC that it ceased production of all packaged salads at its processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. Additionally, the company reported that it is withdrawing all packaged salads currently on the market that were produced at this facility.

On January 27, 2016, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., announced that it was recalling all packaged salads produced in its Springfield, Ohio, facility.

Consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. As pictured below, these products can be identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package.

These packaged salads are sold under these brand names:

  • Dole
  • Fresh Selections
  • Simple Truth
  • Marketside
  • The Little Salad Bar
  • President’s Choice Organics

The type of salad blends produced at the Springfield, Ohio, plant were packaged in bags and clamshell containers and include:

  • American salads
  • arugula salads
  • Asian salads
  • bacon and bleu cheese salads
  • BBQ Ranch salads
  • Caesar salads
  • chipotle and cheddar salads
  • coleslaw
  • field green salads
  • garden salads
  • iceberg salads
  • Italian blend salads
  • kales salads
  • lettuce salads
  • Mediterranean salads
  • romaine salads
  • sesame ginger salads
  • Southwest salads
  • spinach salads
  • spring mix salads
  • spinach salads
  • sunflower salads
  • vegetable blend salads

Once consumers identify that they have one of these brands of salads, the most important thing to do is to check the product code in the upper right-hand corner of the package like the one below. If the product code begins with the letter “A”, the mix has been recalled. It should not be eaten and should be thrown away.

The recalled salads are known to have been distributed to the following states, though there may have been further distribution to other states:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced a link between salads made at the Dole plant in Springfield, Ohio, and a listeriosis outbreak in that country.

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for products made at this plant and reports that recalled salads have also been shipped to these provinces in Canada:
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec

Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Anyone who experiences fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills while pregnant after eating any of the products listed below should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the potentially contaminated leafy greens. Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after eating the contaminated food.

Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.