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Dole Issues Recall for Packaged Salads from Ohio Plant after Listeria is Confirmed

Feb 2, 2016

After previously withdrawing packaged salads suspected to be contaminated with listeria, Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. has upgraded the action to a recall of all salad products packaged at its Springfield, Ohio plant after the listeria was confirmed.

The salads are packaged under a number of brand names and they are now linked to a seven-month listeria outbreak that has not yet ended. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its results on January 29, Food Safety News reports.

By last week, 15 cases of listeriosis-the illness caused by listeria monocytogenes-in eight states had been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most recent case was diagnosed January 3. All 15 people were hospitalized for treatment and one person has died. Canadian health officials have reported seven listeria infections and one death in five provinces. "Laboratory tests performed on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates are highly related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States," according to the CDC.

Otherwise healthy individuals usually experience only short-term symptoms from listeria infection, but listeria can cause serious illness in higher risk individuals. Older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems are all at higher risk, the CDC says. Symptoms of listeriosis include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. The CDC advises anyone with symptoms of listeria infection to seek immediate medical care.

Dole Food Co. of Westlake Village, California, had previously withdrawn from distribution salads from the Ohio plant but last week the firm upgraded this a recall, a more serious action, according to the FDA. The term "recall" indicates that the company knows consuming the product could cause "serious adverse health consequences or death," Food Safety News explains. Dole says it has contacted all retailers in the 23 states and three Canadian provinces that received products from the Ohio facility.

The packaged salads under recall can identified with a product code beginning with the letter "A" in the upper right-hand corner of the package. The recalled salad products include mixes of leafy greens and other fresh-cut vegetables packaged under Dole’s own label and under the brands Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, the Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics. Consumers who have purchased these salads are advised not to eat them.

Though the listeria outbreak began in July 2015, health officials did not confirm the link to the Dole facility until January, when a lab test of a packaged salad returned a positive result for listeria monocytogenes. The strain matched samples from outbreak, according to Food Safety News.

The recalled salads were distributed in 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, Wisconsin, and in Canada in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Canadian authorities say the packaged salads may also have been shipped to Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

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