Dole Lawsuit for Listeriosis from Lettuce Salad Contaminated with Listeria

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 (or you suspect it is linked) to a Dole lettuce salad product. Our lawyers are representing people sickened in this outbreak.

Laboratory tests performed on clinical isolates of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria from 12 people showed that the isolates were highly related genetically, meaning they were sickened by the same source. These illnesses were linked to packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio, when:

  1. The Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad (produced at the Springfield, Ohio, Dole processing facility) from a retail location and found Listeria; and
  2. Laboratory tests showed that the Listeria isolate from the packaged salad was highly related genetically to isolates from ill people.
CDC EPI of Dole Listeria 2015
This is a CDC EPI curve that shows people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes by week of isolation date, ranging from July 5, 2015 to December 23, 2015.

As of March 25, 2016, the number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New Jersey (1), New York (6), Ohio (2), and Pennsylvania (1).

We are a national food safety law firm and have helped many, many people throughout the United States sickened by contaminated food file personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against corporate wrongdoers. We find answers and get our clients compensation. You can get a free consultation (click here for our online form) and talk to one of our Listeria lawyers.

Outbreaks Caused by Contaminated Lettuce Salad

The Dole packaged lettuce salad Listeria outbreak announced by the CDC is one of many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to pre-packaged salads over the past decade.

A partial list of such outbreaks includes:

  • 2013 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 33 people was traced back to ready-to-eat salads produced by Glass Onion Catering.
  • 2012 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that also sickened 33 people was traced back to prepackaged leafy greens produced by State Garden of Chelsea, MA.
  • 2012 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 58 people was traced back to romaine lettuce from salad bars (not produced by Dole) in grocery stores.
  • 2010 E. coli O145 outbreak that sickened 33 people was linked to shredded romaine lettuce from a single processing facility (not Dole).
  • 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 199 people was linked to pre-packaged spinach greens.
Attorney Fred Pritzker
Attorney Fred Pritzker

The problem, according to food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker, is that salad greens that may harbor Listeria, E. coli or other pathogens don’t undergo a “kill step” (which usually involves heating a food product to a temperature high enough to inactivate pathogenic microorganisms). According to Pritzker, it is not possible to wash away or chemically inactivate all pathogens from leafy greens. Thus, a processor has to actively seek out and destroy Listeria colonies in processing environments in order to prevent food contamination.

Listeria bacteria thrive in cool, moist processing environments. They can also survive cold temperatures. They are capable of forming protective colonies in drains, cracks and crevices which makes this organism particularly difficult to destroy.

The worst thing about Listeria, according to Pritzker, is how deadly and destructive the organism is to humans, particularly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

You can contact attorney Fred Pritzker using our free consultation form or by calling 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). We do not believe a class action lawsuit is appropriate for outbreaks with severe illnesses like listeriosis. We welcome you to ask us about this.

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