October 22, 2016

If You Bought Dole Salads Recalled For Listeria, Don’t Panic!

We received so many comments about the Dole salad recall for Listeria monocytogenes that I thought I would write more about the illness and your risk of contracting it.

Mixed salad greensAny Dole prepackaged salad with a code starting with the letter “A” has been recalled.

Listeria is a dangerous pathogen, but there’s no need to panic. There have been thousands and thousands of those bags of salad sold, and, even using the multiplier for Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, only about 34 people have been sickened in the United States and Canada. Your odds of actually developing the illness are quite low.

Second, if you did purchase a bag that was recalled or ate some of the recalled salads, be aware of the symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this bacteria. Symptoms include flu-like fever and muscle aches, upset stomach or diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance, confusion, and convulsions. Awareness of the problem is your best defense.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are similar to many other illnesses, including the flu and illnesses caused by other bacteria and viruses. It’s best to contact your doctor and ask him or her about your symptoms if you do feel ill. Tell him you ate the recalled salads. If you are in a high risk group (the elderly, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses), take any illness more seriously.

Pregnant women should be more cautious about this outbreak. If these women do contract listeriosis, their symptoms may be very mild, but the consequences can be serious, including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and infection in the newborn baby. If you are pregnant and have eaten any of the recalled salads, call your obstetrician for advice about your particular case.

It can take up to 70 days for the symptoms of listeriosis to appear after you have been exposed. But the illness can also appear within two to three days. The average time of illness onset after exposure is two to three weeks. A blood test is the best way to determine if you have a Listeria monocytogenes infection. And these infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Third, if you used the salads in a cooked dish, that is considered a “kill step” and any bacteria, if present, will be destroyed, but you’re not out of the woods yet. While the dish you cooked is safe to eat, cross-contamination between the uncooked spinach or lettuce and utensils, plates, cutting boards, measuring boards, and other foods remains a concern.

Make sure that you wash those items well in a dishwasher, or use a mild bleach solution of one tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach and one gallon of water to clean them. And clean out your refrigerator with that bleach solution as well, since Listeria bacteria grow at refrigerator temperatures. Then wash your hands. And wash them again.

And if you are concerned, ask questions. We are here to help. If we can’t answer a question, we’ll direct you to someone who can answer it.

Bad Bug Law Team

If you have been sickened with listeriosis after eating recalled Dole packaged salads, call our experienced lawyers for help.



  1. Does listeria pass through other packaging if the salad was in the crisper in a closed package?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I don’t think so, but it’s possible that Listeria bacteria are on the outside of the package. To be safe, clean your fridge as the FDA recommends.

  2. Pamela Kirby says:

    I did eat from a bag of mixed salad that was purchased at Walmart.. I had eaten several salads over a five day period. Last Thursday I came down with watery diarrhea. It continued Thursday through Monday [yesterday 1/25/2015] I tried to keep hydrated. I did not go to the doctor because I read that there was no need for antibiotics. I monitored my temperature because I have had a total hip replacement and must seek medical help if I have a temperature. I did not know about the recall until I had consumed the product and already had symptoms. I had saved the greens in a sealed salad bowl. I guess I will carefully dispose of the salad and clorox the container. My stomach is getting better but I am not back to having an appetite, etc. I have never had this type of diarrhea before. I will probably call my orothopedic surgeon just to make sure since I do have to take antibiotics before having any invasive procedures [even having teeth cleaned at the dentist].

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Yes, please do call your doctor. If you do have listeriosis, please contact us again. And clean out your fridge or cupboard, or wherever you had the greens stored, with a mild bleach solution to kill any remaining bacteria, if there are any.

  3. Angela Sullivan says:

    On the Little Salad Bar brand what code/# do you look for? And was the state of Missouri affected?


    • Linda Larsen says:

      Look for the letter “A” at the beginning of the code that is either above or below the “Enjoy By” or “Use By” date.

  4. Shelby Beam says:

    We purchased and ate the Caesar Salad mix from A plant dated 1/26/16 – is it included – or just spinach?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Any Dole salad mix that has the letter “A” on it should be discarded as it is included in the recall.

  5. I don’t quite understand why everyone should “wait” to get tested if they ate from the recalled bags. After reading about Listeria and listeriosis, when you actually start getting sick it could be to late, especially if for your baby if your pregnant. I personally am, ate the recalled salad (along with my other 6 young children, one with a GI disease) and don’t think we should have to sit around for up to 70 DAYS….nearly the rest of my pregnancy, wondering what might happen. As I understand this investigation started September 2015, Dole should have pulled everything immediately, long ago..not 5 months later! Had enough of Doles crap and contaminated products. Never. Never. Never buying Dole anything again.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      If you are pregnant and ate the salad, call your doctor. In that case, some doctors order prophylactic antibiotic treatments. For everyone else, if antibiotics are prescribed and you are not sick, that contributes to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a major worldwide health problem.

      • If a blood test can tell if its in a persons system, then they would not be getting treatment when its not necessary. It would allow the issue to be addressed immediately, instead of later, which could be too late for some. If the test is negative, then of course there is no need for antibiotics.

        • Linda Larsen says:

          That is true. But there would not be symptoms unless the person is sick, unless they are a carrier. Just randomly prescribing antibiotics because people ate the recalled salad is not wise.

  6. Bought dole coleslaw last week, was still on shelves at store when everything else was gone- thought the recall was just for salads mixes.. am i understanding correctly that it is all dole products with the letter A? We ate some of it last night.. I had actually used a different bag a few weeks ago… before this recall thing. not sure if that was an A.

  7. I ate a bag of Krogers fresh selection pre packaged salad. The code did start with an A. Am I now at risk for listeria? I woke up the next day a little bit nauseas

    • Linda Larsen says:

      If you are worried about being sick, please call your doctor and tell him about this recall and your concerns.

  8. Erstine Deutsch says:

    I ate 2 bag of salad. Have had stomach and lose stool problem. Going to get a blood test and stool sample.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Good for you for going to the doctor. If you are sick with listeriosis, contact us again please.

  9. Are there any other bagged salad products under different names that are involved in this recall? On 1/23 my wife and I ate Olivia’s Organics spring mix and Trader Joe’s baby spinach for dinner and became very ill within a few hours. We ate other things too so we aren’t positive the salad was the culprit. Symptoms lasted about 36 hours and included severe nausea and fever.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Listeria takes at least two to three days to appear. Getting sick within a few hours is usually norovirus. If you’re worried, please call your doctor.

  10. Bob Perry says:

    I have had confusion for a few hours now,and when I woke up I had a stiff neck and headache but they both went away.I think that I’m prone to suggestion aswell though.Should I be worried…Your advice???

  11. B McClure says:

    Does the illness start with a fever like in the gut and THEN move on into the bloodstream if not treated? I don’t have a fever but a vague headache and my neck and shoulder hurts somewhat. I don’t know if you can get the bloodstream type of listeria BEFORE it would go on to affect your gut with fever and diareha etc–Also, I take Advair for asthma–would that put me in the high-risk group?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Please call your doctor and ask about this. Remember they are there for reassurance and to answer questions, not just diagnose.

  12. As I am sure you know no actual facts are given other that the bag codes and number of people who got sick so far. Do you have any insight on if it is from more of one type of salad than another? Are there any new cases to date? What are the odds of getting this if you had some? Was the whole facility tested, sounds like they only tested a few samples at retail locations. Is it in machinery or from the grown lettuce its self? And the person who died , where they in the high risk status? Is it just a precaution to shut down or is all “A” bags known to have it?. I know these are a lot of questions but they have addressed none of them.
    Thank you!

    • Linda Larsen says:

      The odds of contracting Listeria food poisoning from these salads is low, but still scary. We don’t know how the lettuce/spinach/whatever was contaminated with the bacteria. The CDC has not updated case counts since Friday. And we have no details on the person who died or in fact the health status of any of those sickened. I wish I could tell you more!

  13. I did not eat the salad but we had one of the “A” bags open in the fridge when the announcement was made (my fiancee are it). We cleaned the drawer it was kept in and tossed the bag. I now have flu-like symptoms… Fatigue, upset stomach, other bathroom related issues. Should I get tested?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Please call your doctor and tell him about your symptoms. The only way to know for sure if you have listeriosis is to get tested.

  14. I only see salads being referred to. Is it ALL Dole products? I ate the bagged baby spinach and the code does indeed begin with A. Is it ALL bagged products that begin with A? I would assume so since it came from the Ohio plant but wanted to make sure.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I believe that spinach is one of the products. The recall, or “market withdrawal”, as Dole is calling it, is for all bagged products that begin with an “A”.

  15. Nancy Durst says:

    I’m confused. Sam’s club recalled only certain UPC coded salads. Mine do not have those codes, although the A is present in the upper right-hand corner of the package. Is the Sam’s information valid?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Sam’s Club probably recalled the products they know they sold at their store. Since these salads are much cheaper than an illness, I would throw out the product you have to be on the safe side.

  16. Did my question post? It is the only one without a response so I just wanted to make sure???

  17. I ate the recalled lettuce 3 days ago and now I’m freaking out about it. I normally suffer from migraines with a stiff neck so I have no idea if it’s listeria or not. Why does this keep happening? I feel like I can’t buy anything from the grocery store anymore without wondering if I’m going to die from it. My stomach has been upset but that could just be nerves and like I said I normally have a stiff neck with a headache. This is awful. I will never buy bagged lettuce again as long as I live, and if I don’t, well…I guess I’ll know what actually killed me.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I understand your concern; this whole thing is frustrating. But if you are really worried call your doctor. They are also there for reassurance, in addition to diagnosing problems!

  18. Janice Hamilton says:

    We have an unopened pkg of spring mix that starts with A. Will this contaminate the refrigerator and other items that came in contact with the package.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      It might. Throw away the spring mix, or return it to the store. Then wash out the fridge and rinse other packaged items with a mild bleach solution. Cook other foods or throw them away. Then wash your hands well with soap and water.

  19. My husband 2 kids and I ate salads for dinner 3 nights in a row and I became sick Thursday morning with what I assumed was the flu…I was in bed for 5 days with almost all of the symptoms listed…I have felt better for 2 days but remain extremely tired with some body aches…should I call my dr now or is it pointless now that I’m starting to feel better??? I would have called when I was sick but was unaware of the issue with lettuce until yesterday. I even joked to my co workers a few days ago that my body was just rejecting the healthy diet because it really didn’t feel like the flu…no one else in my family is sick by the way.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      If you have been sick, please talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if a blood test is needed. It’s good that you are feeling better, but if you have been sickened with listeriosis, the bacteria will probably still show up in the tests.

  20. Jenny Rowan says:

    What are the chances that a product with code “A” actually is contaminated? Is it a definite thing or do they just recall everything as a safety precaution? I ate a few products with that code within the last week and just trying the ease my mind!

    • Linda Larsen says:

      The chances that a package is actually contaminated is low. The problem is that we have no way of knowing which packages are contaminated. Don’t get too worried about it. Now that you know about the recall, you know what to do. If you get sick, see your doctor. This is a treatable illness.

  21. Bob Troxell says:

    My understanding is that only the Dole plant located in Springfield, Ohio had the problem. The product code for those packages starts with an “A”. Per news reports, product codes starting with a letter other that A indicates it came from another plant that does not have the listeria bacteria. By the way, I ate two products from packages with A in the code before I was aware of the problem. I do not belong to one of the high-risk groups and so far feel fine. Of course, it has been less than a week and, per the article above, symptoms may not appear for weeks of months. Hopefully my immune system will take care of it.

  22. Debra Samuels says:

    I brought little salad mix from Aldi in Washington DC, My family and I ate two bags between last week and this week ,I threw one bag of salad mix out today with the A on it. I got ill for 3 days this week but feel better . What should I do , and What about my family. They said they feel fine.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I would recommend that you call your doctor and talk to her about your illness. If your family members get sick, they should see a doctor.

    • My daughter and her fiancé ate dole salad. Much to ShopRites credit, she received a phone call saying that, by tracking her ShopRite card, they knew she had bought a contaminated bag. Unfortunately, they both had eaten the salad and felt sick b4 they got the call. My daughter felt better for a few days, but she is very sick at work and is headed for her doctor. She started feeling ill this a.m. with a headache. That passed, but now her vision is blurred, she is dizzy and weak. Should I rush to meet her at her doctors office. I’m worried.

      • Linda Larsen says:

        I’m glad your daughter is going to the doctor. Call the doctor’s office to ask if she can drive. If she does have listeriosis, please contact us again.

  23. Karen Ford says:

    I ate some Dole hearts of romaine dated 1-26-16 about a week ago before the recall. The bag has a code A01301B19:55. My eight yr old granddaughter also ate some with me. Should we go get our blood checked? So far, neither of us has shown any symptoms.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Call your doctor if you have symptoms of illness, but if you are worried, of course you should talk to him or her for reassurance.

  24. We ate a bag last night A00604A16:51.
    Should we go have our blood tested? How should we proceed???

  25. David Taylor says:

    I bought this DOLE salad pack a few days ago and it is marked use by 01-29-2016 the product # B01107A 01:43. This was bought in a save a lot store at the price of 2 for $ 5.00. Fortunately only bought one. I want my money back. $2.50 + .23 tax= $2.73. I see no reason your mistakes should cost me when I bought this product based on the Dole name and reputation.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Take it back to the store where you purchased it for a refund.

      • Marianne Jones says:

        Why would you take this back since the # does not begin with “A” and therefore was not packaged in the affected plant?

        • Linda Larsen says:

          If anyone is uncomfortable with a food, there’s no reason they should eat it. Stores will take back just about any food.

      • Penny Safler says:

        I have a bag of Classic Iceberg from Save a lot inSte. Genevieve, Mo. It does start with the Letter A due to expire Jan. 35.I guess I just need to return to the store for a refund. Is it all the Dole packaged lettuce salds?
        Penny Sadler

        • Linda Larsen says:

          Yes, all Dole packaged salads with the code starting with the letter “A” are recalled, or “withdrawn from the market,” according to Dole.

          • We’re any commercial or restaurant packs affected? Several members of my family andcfriends fell ill about 10-14 days after eating in a restaurant. The salad was the only common food

          • Linda Larsen says:

            The CDC’s advice to consumers also had advice to retailers about not serving these salads. I don’t know if restaurant salads are included in the recall, but if your family members are sick, please tell them to see a doctor.

  26. I am so up set I have been eating this bagged dole lettuce with this code for weeks now. I sat down for dinner two nights ago finishe my salad and then recieved the call of it being bad. I had a bag from days before so I bought another bag because I was having company and combined the two. Thank goodness I was the only one who had ate it by the time the call came at six that night but I am furious that if it were even a thought that this was a culprit the bags were not pulled sooner. I will never purchase a dole product again. How could this go on for so long. Now I am sick with cold like symptoms two days later and I am scared.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Please call your doctor and tell him you are sick. He will know if he should see you. I understand your feelings and I wish there was more I could do. Remember that doctors are there to reassure you as well as diagnose and treat.

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