Last week, the Public Health Agency of Canada issued a press release stating that an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning had sickened at least 7 people in five provinces. On Friday, January 22, 2016, the CDC in the United States said that there is a Listeria outbreak in that country linked to Dole prepackaged salads.
The recall in Canada is for many different kinds of prepackaged Dole salads. And the recall also answers a question we had here at Food Poisoning Bulletin: it states “The products listed below may have been repackaged or transformed into various in-store produced products, such as in-store made salads.”
You can see the long list of recalled products at the CFIA web site. They include Classic Iceberg Salad, Classic Romaine, Greener Selection, Colorful Cole Slaw, American Blend, Chopped Romaine, Field Greens, Hearts of Romaine, Italian Blend, Mediterranean Blend, Spring Mix, Very Veggie, Baby Spinach, Spring Mix, Baby Arugula with Spinach, Baby Romaine, Baby Spinach with Tender Reds, Sassy Baby Blend, Sweet Baby Lettuces, Arugula, 50/50 Blend, Salade Kit Caesar, Chop Chop Salade, and many more. The list at the CFIA site also has the package sizes and UPC numbers of the recalled products. All codes that begin with the letter “A” are recalled.
The salads were sold in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec and may have been sold nationally.
If you purchased any of these products, do not eat them. Throw them away in a sealed container, or return them to the place of purchase for a refund. Then clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution, since Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Clean all utensils, surfaces, or containers that may have come into contact with the salads. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
If you ate any of these products, monitor yourself for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next two months, because that’s how long it can take for symptoms to manifest. The symptoms of a Listeria infection are flu-like, including fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, GI problems, headache, stiff neck, and confusion. Listeria can be serious in those in high risk groups, and can cause miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women. If you do get sick, see your doctor and tell him you ate this product that was recalled for possible Listeria contamination.