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Filed January 26th, 2016 F.A. Kelley

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., has announced the temporary suspension of operations at its Springfield, Ohio production facility and has withdrawn all Dole-brand and private label packaged salads processed at that location because salads from the facility have been identified as the likely source of a multistate listeria outbreak that began in summer 2015.

The suspension and withdrawal actions are being undertaken in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Available epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that packaged salads produced at the Ohio processing facility and sold under a number of brand names in addition to Dole are the likely source of the listeria outbreak. Twelve illnesses caused by the outbreak strain of listeria have been reported from six states since July 5, 2015. Twelve people were hospitalized, and one has died as a result of listeria infection. One pregnant woman became ill with listeria. Laboratory tests show that the strains from the ill people are highly related genetically.

Older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for listeria infections, according to the CDC, though individuals without at low risk can also be affected. Symptoms of listeriosis—the illness caused by the listeria bacteria—include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Otherwise healthy individuals usually suffer only short-term symptoms but listeria infection can cause serious, even life threatening, illness and the infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. The CDC recommends that anyone who develops symptoms of listeria infection seek immediate medical care.

The salads being withdrawn can be identified by a product code beginning with the letter “A” in the upper right-hand corner of the package. These salads are sold in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Canadian provinces Ontario, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Customer service representatives from Dole Fresh Vegetables have been contacting retailers to confirm that all the withdrawn packaged salads have been removed from the supply chain.

The CDC advises consumers not to eat salads from the Springfield, Ohio plant, and has told restaurants not to not serve them. Retailers should not sell the any packaged salads produced at the Ohio processing plant. The salads were sold under Dole’s name and also under the brand labels Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics.

No other Dole processing facilities are affected by this announcement and no other Dole products, including fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and packaged salads from Dole’s other processing facilities are part of the voluntary withdrawal. Product codes beginning with the letters “B” or “N” are not affected.

The FDA urges retailers and consumers to discard any packaged salads with an “A” code. Retailers and consumers may direct questions to the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.




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