Food & Drinks

Dole reopens salad facilities linked to multi-year Listeria outbreak

Dole is reopening two salad production plants linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that has killed at least two people.

Dozens of packaged salad varieties sold under brands including those sold by Walmart, Kroger and Lidl were recalled Dec. 22, 2021, after testing revealed the presence of the Listeria. The salads were produced at Dole facilities in Yuma, AZ, and Bessemer City, NC.

Brands of salads included in the recall were:

  • Ahold
  • Dole
  • Kroger
  • Lidl
  • Little Salad Bar
  • Marketside
  • Naturally Better
  • Nature’s Promise
  • Simply Nature

The expiration dates on the recalled salads ranged from Nov. 30, 2021, through Jan. 8, 2022. 

Although all of the salads should have been removed by retailers and thrown away by consumers by now, additional illnesses could still be reported because it can take up to 70 days for symptoms of infection to develop. Then it can take another three to four weeks for confirmed cases to be added to outbreak tallies.

Dole spokesman William Goldfield confirmed for Food Safety News that the implicated Arizona and North Carolina facilities are resuming operations. He did not elaborate on the company’s internal investigation related to the recalls or outbreak.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are continuing to investigate the outbreak. As of its most recent outbreak update, released on Dec. 22, 2021, 16 people across 13 states have been confirmed infected. Twelve of the patients were so sick they had to be admitted to hospitals. Two people have died.

“Investigators found the outbreak strain of Listeria in two different packaged salads (in Michigan and Georgia) produced by Dole. Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated,” according to the CDC’s outbreak update.

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“CDC investigated this outbreak in 2019 and 2020 but was unable to gather enough data to identify the source in the past. CDC reopened the investigation in November 2021 when four new illnesses were reported since the end of August 2021.”

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled product and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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