Dole Food Co. Inc., in cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a multi-state recall for packaged salads possibly contaminated with a strain of the listeria monocytogenes (listeriosis) bacteria. The CDC reports one person has died and 12 were hospitalized after eating packaged salads prepared and distributed at Dole’s Springfield, Ohio, facility.
According to a CDC news release, the outbreak has affected people in six states. One person from Michigan died as a result of listeriosis, and one of the 12 people hospitalized was pregnant. The CDC reports five people who fell ill reported eating packaged salad in the month before becoming ill. Two people specified they ate Dole brand packaged salads.
Laboratory results linked the illnesses to the Dole processing facility in Springfield in January, and on Jan. 21, Dole Reported to the CDC that it had stopped production at that facility and is recalling all packaged salads produced at that facility. Brand name packaged salads included in the Dole recall are Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice. The recalled salads can be identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package.
States affected by the recall are 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 and Wisconsin.
Consumers are advised to throw away any packaged salad included in the recall after sealing it in a plastic bag and a sealed trash can. They should wash the refrigerator drawer and other areas where the salad may have been stored with hot water and soap, and wash any cutting boards, utensils or other surfaces that came in contact with the salad. Consumers should wash their hands with warm water and soap after cleaning.
Listeria is notorious not only for its lethalness but also for its persistence in food-manufacturing facilities and ability to not only survive in temperatures below freezing, but to thrive in them. While listeria monogynes bacteria are not a leading cause of food poisoning, they are among the deadliest of foodborne pathogens, causing about 255 deaths in the United States every year.
Symtoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has “invasive” infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Pregnant women are approximately 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis from eating contaminated foods. Listeriosis typically manifests as a mild flu-like illness in pregnant women, but is usually fatal for the unborn child, as it can result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Babies that survive a listeria infection often develop life-long health problems.
The most severe infections have a mortality rate between 15-30 percent. In these cases, the infection spreads through the bloodstream to the nervous system and brain, resulting in bacterial meningitis and other potentially fatal problems.