Dole is voluntarily calling back salads packaged in Springfield, Ohio facility, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked it as the source of listeria contaminaton that caused 11 people being ill and one death.
The 12 cases go as far back as July 2015, one of which is pregnant. The CDC launched a probe into the matter last September, but it wasn't until this month that the health agency could pinpoint listeria as the cause.
The investigators are currently running and checking the samples collected from each of those who fell ill against those found in PulseNet, which is a national database of DNA fingerprints.
Last Thursday, Dole notified the CDC that the Springfield processing facility has been closed and the salads the site produced were being recalled.
Dole is advising consumers, restaurants and retailers to throw away any of its salad that bear an "A" at the front of the production codes on their bags.
The "A" indicates that the salads were packaged at the Springfield facility, while packages bearing codes that start with different letters were prepared at other sites and have been deemed safe to consume.
"Please be assured, that your health and safety remains our number one priority," the company said on its Facebook account. "Every step taken to get fresh salads to you - from the field to the packing facility - is being thoroughly reviewed."
Individuals interested in refunds for the recalled products may email the details of their packages' UPCs, expiration dates and the manufacturing codes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dole is recalling the suspect salads from Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The states where cases of salad-related listeria has been found include one case each in Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While Michigan and New York have recorded 4 cases each.
Listeria And Its Symptoms
Listeria monocytogenes is the bacteria behind listeriosis, the name given to the infection.
The reason this outbreak has affected people ages 3 to 83 years old, is because the young and the elderly have immune systems that are either underdeveloped or weakened by age. The bacteria is also life threatening to adults with compromised immune systems.
Listeriosis typically comes from the gut, then spreads into the blood stream, which could cause several symptoms. For healthy adults, it is typically limited to diarrhea and fever, because it takes a large amount of listeria to make them sick and for the bacteria to establish itself in the blood stream.
For those with weakened immune systems, the symptoms include meningitis and muscle aches, together with fever and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Listeria Prevention, Diagnosis And Treatment
It usually takes a few days for listeria to develop into a full-blown infection, but there are cases where the development of the disease could take up to two months.
Treatment of listeriosis typical entails the administration of antibiotics.
"If a person has eaten food contaminated with Listeria and does not have any symptoms, most experts believe that no tests or treatment are needed, even for persons at higher risk for listeriosis," the CDC said.
To prevent listeriosis, the CDC recommends thorough washing of both food and hands and thorough cooking of meat and poultry. Fruits and vegetables should be scrubbed where possible and rinsed, even if they will be peeled.