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Dole Fresh Vegetables Ohio Production Plant the Likely Source of Listeria Outbreak

Jan 26, 2016

On January 21, 2016, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., announced the temporary suspension of operations at its Springfield, Ohio production facility. Dole has withdrawn all Dole-brand and private label packaged salads processed at that location because salads from the facility have been identified as the likely source of a multistate listeria outbreak that began in July 2015.

The production suspension and product withdrawal are being undertaken in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The available epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that packaged salads produced at the Dole Ohio processing facility and sold under a number of brand names are the likely source of the listeria outbreak. Twelve illnesses caused by the outbreak strain of listeria have been reported from six states since July 5, 2015. Twelve people were hospitalized, and one has died as a result of listeria infection. One pregnant woman became ill. Laboratory tests showed that the strains from the ill people are highly related genetically.

Listeria infections primarily affect older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC, though individuals without these risk factors can also be affected. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Otherwise healthy individuals usually suffer only short-term symptoms but listeria infection can cause serious illness in higher risk people and the infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. The CDC recommends that anyone who develops symptoms of listeria infection seek immediate medical care.

The salads subject to the withdrawal can be identified by a product code beginning with the letter "A" in the upper right-hand corner of the package. These salads are sold in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Customer service representatives from Dole Fresh Vegetables have been contacting retailers to confirm that all the withdrawn packaged salads have been removed from the supply chain.

The CDC cautions consumers not to eat the withdrawn salads, and has told restaurants not to not serve them. Retailers should not sell the any packaged salads produced at the Springfield, Ohio processing plant. These packaged salads were sold under Dole's name and also labeled Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President's Choice Organics.

No additional Dole processing facilities are affected by this announcement. 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 the voluntary withdrawal.

Retailers and consumers who have any packaged salads with an "A" code should not consume them. The FDA urges them to discard the products. Retailers and consumers may direct questions to the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111) (hours are 8:00am-8:00pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday).

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