Contact our law firm about a Dole lawsuit if you or a loved one contracted a Listeria infection, referred to as listeriosis, and the illness has been linked to a recalled Dole lettuce salad product, or you suspect a link and need evidence to prove it.
Fifteen people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from eight states since July 5, 2015, according to the CDC. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows:
Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (5), and Pennsylvania (1).
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been performed on clinical isolates from all ill people and has shown that the isolates are highly related genetically.
Listeria specimens were collected from ill people between July 5, 2015 and January 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age is 64. Seventy-three percent of ill people are female. All 15 (100%) ill people were hospitalized, including one person from Michigan who died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman.
Dole Salad Recall
On January 27, 2016, Dole announced it had voluntarily recalled all salad mixes produced in the Springfield, Ohio processing facility, and temporarily suspended operations. This was after it issued a January 22, 2016 notice that it had “voluntarily withdrawn” the same products. Dole said in a statement that it issued the recall “with the aim of using terminology that is more familiar to consumers.” As food safety lawyers, we knew on January 22 it was a Dole salad recall.
According to the CDC, there is no evidence to suggest that any products produced at other Dole processing facilities in the United States are linked to illness. The type of salad mixes produced at this facility were packaged in bags and plastic clamshell containers and can be identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package.
Evidence Connecting Dole Salad to the Cases of Listeriosis
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and sold under various brand names are the likely source of this outbreak.
In the U.S., state and local health departments and federal investigators continue to interview ill people about the foods they may have eaten or other exposures in the month before their illness began. Of eight ill people who were asked about packaged salad, all eight (100%) reported eating a packaged salad. Four (100%) of four ill people who were able to specify the brands of packaged salad they ate reported various kinds of Dole brand packaged salad.
Moreover, the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad from a retail location and isolated Listeria. This packaged salad was produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility. In January 2016, whole-genome sequencing showed that the Listeria isolate from the packaged salad was highly related genetically to isolates from ill people. This information solidly linked the cases of Listeriosis to Dole brand packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the presence of Listeria in packaged salads produced at Springfield, Ohio, Dole processing facility.
U.S. and Canadian Illnesses
In addition to the 15 confirmed cases of listeriosis in the U.S., according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are seven people in five Canadian provinces infected with the same outbreak strain of Listeria. Laboratory tests performed to date on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates are highly related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States.
Packaged salads produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility were distributed in Eastern Canada and the United States. Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the presence of Listeria in packaged salads produced at the Dole Springfield, Ohio processing facility.