Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., has temporarily suspended operations at its Springfield, Ohio production facility, and is voluntarily withdrawing from the market all Dole-brand and private label packaged salads processed at that location because packaged salads from the facility have been identified as the likely source of a multistate listeria outbreak.
The suspension and withdrawal are being undertaken in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available to date indicate that packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and sold under various brand names are the likely source of the listeria outbreak. Twelve people infected with 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 listeriosis. One illness was reported in a pregnant woman. 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 may suffer only short-term symptoms but listeria infection can cause serious illness in higher risk individuals and can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. The CDC advises anyone who develops symptoms of listeria infection to seek immediate medical care.
The salads subject to the withdrawal are identified with 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. Dole Fresh Vegetables’ customer service representatives have been contacting retailers to confirm that the withdrawn packaged salads have been removed from the supply chain.
The CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, restaurants do not serve, and retailers do not sell packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. These packaged salads were sold under brand names including Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics.
No additional Dole facilities are affected. 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.
Retailers and consumers who have any salad product with an “A” code should not consume it. The FDA urges them to discard it. Retailer and consumer questions about the voluntary withdrawal should be directed to the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111) (hours are 8:00am-8:00pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday).