DARKE COUNTY – Salad lovers beware. Your favorite health food may have been contaminated with a bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, that can cause a serious infection called Listeriosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consumers should not eat Dole brand packaged salad that are identified with the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package.
The manufacturing coding indicates the product was produced in the Springfield, Ohio facility where an outbreak of the bacteria was found. The CDC said, 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.
The CDC has been investigating the outbreak of 12 cases (one death) over six states, since September 2015 with the help of public health officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency said the illnesses were in Michigan, New York, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Those sickened ranged in age from three years old to 83 years old.
The source of the illnesses wasn’t known until recently when a laboratory result from the packaged salad collected in Ohio linked the illnesses to the Springfield facility. On Thursday, production was stopped at the facility.
The salad was also packaged and sold under other various brand names including:
- Fresh Selections
- Simple Truth
- The Little Salad Bar
- President’s Choice Organics
If you have a package of the potentially contaminated salad, the CDC recommends you take the following steps:
- Throw the packaged salad away in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people and animals from eating it.
- Wash the refrigerator drawer and other areas where the packaged salads were stored with hot water and soap.
- Wash cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to serve or store packaged salads. If possible, use a dishwasher; otherwise, use hot water and soap, followed by sanitizing with a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach added to one gallon of hot water.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap after cleaning up.
Listeriosis primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.
A person with the illness usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Other symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
Pregnant women are at high risk because symptoms can be severe and include infections that can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
The CDC says people who develop symptoms of listeriosis after eating possibly contaminated products can consider seeking medical care and telling a healthcare provider about eating that product. Although people can sometimes develop listeriosis up to 2 months after eating contaminated food, symptoms usually start within several days.
Dole said it is withdrawing the salads from sale in more than 20 states and three Canadian provinces. Consumer questions about the voluntary withdrawal should be directed to the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111) (hours are 8 a.m. -8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday).