December 2, 2016

After Deadly Salad Listeria Outbreak, Dole Restarts Production at Springfield Plant

Dole ListeriaAfter being linked to a salad Listeria outbreak, Dole’s plant in Springfield, Ohio has reopened, according to a press release on the company’s website. The outbreak included 19 confirmed cases in the U.S. and one fatality. In Canada, 14 people were sickened and three of them died, although health officials in Canada have not been determined if Listeria was the cause of those deaths. All case patients in both countries were hospitalized. One illness was reported in a pregnant woman.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency completed their investigations of the Springfield, plant, according to the statement. Production has restarted and will ramp up in the coming weeks.

 “We’re grateful for the support of all our employees and the town of Springfield”, said Dole President Howard Roeder, in the statement. “Their commitment has been, and will always be, the cornerstone of the Dole Fresh Vegetables organization.”

In the U.S. outbreak, case patients reported onset of illness from July 5, 2015 to January 31, 2016. They ranged in age from 3 years to 83, with a median age was 64. Seventy four percent of those sickened were female.

Cases were reported from Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New Jersey (1), New York (6), Ohio (2)  and Pennsylvania (1).The fatality was reported in Michigan.

Fourteen case patients were interviewed by health officials. Thirteen of them reported eating a packaged salad before they became ill. The nine people who specified a brand of packaged salad, reported various kinds of Dole brand packaged salads, according to the CDC.

Recalls were issued in both countries. In Canada, the salads linked to the outbreak were sold under the brand names Dole and PC Organics. In the U.S., the recalled salads were sold under the following names: Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice.

Health officials used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to determine that the isolates of case patients in both countries were closely related genetically. Genetic, epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated a link between packaged salad products produced at Dole’s Springfield plant and the outbreak of listeriosis.

Symptoms of a Listeria infection can take as long as 70 days to develop. They include: nausea and diarrhea followed by fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and muscle aches. Young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk for Listeria infections. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and illness in newborns.

 

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