DOLE Under Investigation After Listeria Outbreak
Samples suggest Dole had evidence of bacteria at Ohio plant a year earlier
Dole Food Co Inc said on Friday the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to packaged salad products from its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio.
At least 33 people in the U.S. and Canada had been sickened with the same strain of Listeria as was found when Ohio inspectors tested the Dole salad they collected from a retailer. All 33 victims had such severe symptoms they required hospitalization. Four of them died.
The produce company stopped production at its Springfield, Ohio facility on January 21 and restarted production on April 21.
The produce company appears to have first detected listeria in its Springfield plant in July 2014. But the company kept processing salads and shipping them to locations in the United States and Canada.
The company found listeria in the plant at least five more times in 2014, and three times in 2015, according to the F.D.A. report. But the factory continued processing salads until Jan. 21, five days after F.D.A. inspectors showed up. Dole initiated a recall a week later.
Inspection reports (483) obtained by Food Safety News revealed the timeline of positive Listeria results and inaction. Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. finally suspended production at its salad plant in Springfield, OH, on Jan. 21 this year after a random test by state officials showed a bagged salad contained Listeria monocytogenes.
The salads have been known to have been distributed to the following states, but there may have been further distribution to other states. The states that received the salads include, but are not limited to: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The salads were sold at Giant, Kroger, ALDI, Price Chopper, Walmart, Fred Meyer, Schnucks, Meijer, ShopRite, Stop n Shop, Food 4 Less, Jay C, FoodsCo, PriceRite and other stores.
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