CDC Investigating Possible Listeria Outbreak In Dole Salads

Since the beginning of July, there have been twelve people who became so sick from a specific strain of Listeria that they were hospitalized. One of them died. Public health authorities know that the cases are linked because of genetic analysis of the bacteria, and have finally been able to link the illnesses to one Dole packaging plant for salad greens in Ohio.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been investigating this outbreak since September. These twelve people were most likely not the only ones who became sick, but they were the ones who had the most severe illnesses and were hospitalized.

To oversimplify a bit, a doctor’s office or hospital can take samples of the pathogen making you sick and upload its genetic fingerprint to a CDC database, where it may be matched with pathogens that have made other people sick in other parts of the country. It’s like identifying criminals using their DNA in an episode of CSI: Barf City.

When officials in Ohio were performing some routine tests on vegetables, they found the same strain of Listeria on packaged salad from the plant in Springfield, Ohio. The facility was shut down yesterday, but there have been no recalls issued yet.

The Dole plant packaged greens sold both under the Dole name and various store brands. Those include:

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

dole-manufacturing-codeWhat should you, as a consumer, do? If you have any salad greens purchased before the announcement yesterday, check the production codes to see whether they match. The plant’s code begins with an “A,” as shown at left.

If you know that you ate affected salad, monitor yourself for the symptoms of listeriosis, which include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Packaged Salads Produced at Springfield, Ohio Dole Processing Facility [CDC] (via Food Safety News)