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January 22, 2016: CDC Reports – Dole Packaged Salads Listeria Outbreak Sickens 12 In 6 States

Dole Packaged Salads Listeria Outbreak Announcement – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that 12 people in 6 states have been infected with the life-threatening pathogen Listeria, in a food poisoning outbreak that may be linked to Dole packaged salads processed at the company’s Springfield, Ohio, facility. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), New Jersey (1), New York (4), and Pennsylvania (1).

The outbreak victims range in age from 3 years to 83 years, and all required hospitalization according to the CDC. Tragically, one fatality in Michigan has been linked to the outbreak. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman. Bacterial specimens from those sickened were collected from July 5, 2015 to December 23, 2015. The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with several state health agencies have been investigating the outbreak since September, 2015.

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., Announces Packaged Salad Recall

Salads can be identified by the letter "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package.

Salads can be identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package.

On January 22, 2016, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., announced that it had stopped all production at its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio, and that the company would withdraw the following brands of packaged salads from the market: Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics. The packaged salads can be identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. The CDC also advised that consumers do not eat, restaurants do not serve, and that retailers do not sell packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. Please see Dole Packaged Salads Recall for CDC announcement and consumer advice.

Investigating A Food Poisoning Outbreak

Using laboratory techniques known as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) public health scientists from each state generate “DNA finger prints” for bacterial specimens collected from food poisoning patients nationwide. This network of testing laboratories and the resulting database of bacterial DNA information is known as “PulseNet.” PulseNet enables public health investigators to identify potential food poisoning clusters (outbreaks), and to link individual food poisoning illnesses to an outbreak. If a foodborne pathogen or bacteria is eventually isolated from a suspected outbreak food source, DNA finger printing and the PulseNet database can also be used to link that food to an outbreak.

Investigating The Dole Packaged Salads Listeria Outbreak

Identifying the outbreak victims – By using WGS, public health scientists determined that the Listeria specimens, isolated from all 12 of those sickened, are highly related genetically. In other words, these 12 patients are victims of the same food poisoning outbreak. Interviewing patients about the foods they ate prior to becoming ill also provided valuable information. Investigators learned that five of the five outbreak victims who were asked about packaged salad reported eating packaged salad in the month before becoming ill. Both of the two outbreak victims who reported the brand of salad that they had eaten, identified the brand as Dole.

Linking Dole salads to the outbreak illnesses – The Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad from a retail location and isolated Listeria from the product. This packaged salad was produced at the Springfield, Ohio, Dole processing facility. In January 2016, WGS indicated that the Listeria isolated from the packaged salad, was highly related genetically to the Listeria isolates from the 12 ill people. This information linked the illnesses to Dole brand packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

About Listeria and Listeriosis

Listeria infection, or listeriosis, is a serious and sometimes fatal foodborne illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Listeriosis affects primarily pregnant women (and sometimes their developing fetuses), newborns, older adults, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, persons without these risk factors can also be affected. Please see Listeria to learn more about Listeria Symptoms and Complications and Listeria Diagnosis.

Obtain a Free Listeria Lawsuit Case Evaluation

The Weinberg Law Firm is currently assisting victims of Listeria food poisoning outbreaks nationwide, including those injured in the recent multistate outbreak that may be linked to eating Dole salads. Please contact our law firm 24/7, toll free at 1-877-934-6274, if you have a question regarding a Listeria food poisoning lawsuit.

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