A multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that caused the death of two people (one in Michigan, one in Wisconsin) has been linked to packaged salads produced by Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., according to a CDC investigation.
The CDC says the outbreak linked to Dole products has also been responsible for 17 illnesses and 13 hospitalizations reported in Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Those impacted range in age from 50 to 94 years of age, and 82% percent are women.
A second outbreak linked to salad products involves branded and private label products produced by Fresh Express products according to CDC.
In December 2021, Dole issued a voluntary recall on packaged salads produced at its Bessemer City, NC, and Yuma, AZ processing facilities. In January 2022, Dole issued a second voluntary recall, removing all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Springfield, Ohio, and Soledad, Calif.-based production facilities that contained iceberg lettuce.
In addition to Dole packaged salads, private label brands containing the contaminated lettuce include Ahold, HEB, Kroger, Lidl, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise, President’s Choice and Simply Nature.
The recall is for products showing “Best if used by” dates from November 30, 2021, through January 9, 2022. The products affected include Caesar kits, mixed greens, garden salads, and more, sold in either bags or clamshells. Additionally, the products involved include product lot codes that begin with the letter “B,” “N,” “W” or “Y” displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the package. Consumers and retailers who still have products in their refrigerators involved in either recall are urged to discard them immediately.
A spokesperson for Dole told The Washington Post that the company was confident it had identified and corrected all issues related to the listeria outbreak. “Throughout the FDA and CDC investigations, Dole provided full access and transparency into all of our facilities, our processes, and our operations,” spokesperson William Goldfield told the paper. “Delivering safe, high-quality fruits and vegetables is our top priority, and we are deeply saddened and sorry that we did not meet our standard.”