Lab Results Link Listeria Infections to Packaged Salads

Since September 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis). Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

Twelve people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from six states since July 5, 2015. Twelve people were hospitalized, and one person from Michigan died as a result of listeriosis. One illness was reported in a pregnant woman. Laboratory tests performed on clinical isolates from all 12 ill people showed that the isolates are highly related genetically.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available to date 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. Five (100%) of the five ill people who were asked about packaged salad reported eating packaged salad in the month before becoming ill. Two (100%) of two ill people who specified a brand of packaged salad reported eating various varieties of Dole brand packaged salads.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad from a retail location and isolated Listeria. Laboratory tests showed that the Listeria isolate from the packaged salad was highly related genetically to isolates from ill people. This packaged salad was produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility.

Although the investigation began in September 2015, the source of these illnesses wasn't known until January 2016 when the laboratory result from the packaged salad collected in Ohio linked the illnesses to the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

On Jan. 21, 2016, Dole reported to CDC that it had stopped all production at the processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. The company also reported that it is withdrawing all packaged salads currently on the market that were produced at this facility. The CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, restaurants do not serve, and retailers do not sell packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. These packaged salads were sold under various brand names. Brands of packaged salads include Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President's Choice. These packaged salads can be identified by the letter "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that packaged salads produced at other Dole processing facilities in the United States are linked to illness.

Source: CDC

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