Listeria In Packaged Salad

Yet Another Listeria Outbreak — This Time, The Bacteria Is In Your Salad

Listeria outbreak is becoming a rather too common term these days. First, Blue Bell ice cream was affected, then Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (this company found listeria and shut down before anyone became sick), and now, the listeria outbreak stems from bagged salad.

We all feel good when we choose to eat a leafy green salad instead of fast food or some other poor nutritional choice, but that decision has sickened 12 people across several states, as an outbreak of listeria has been linked to packaged salads.

The listeria contaminated food has finally been linked to the Dole Processing Facility in Springfield, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the first case happened in July of 2015. Of the 12 people infected, all were hospitalized, one was a pregnant woman, and one person died from listeriosis.

It seems the listeria outbreak was contained within the one facility in Ohio, but the salads were sold to several states. The following is a full list of areas the listeria contaminated salad was sold: 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.

Though the lettuce was sold to many states, not all of these areas have seen physical illness from the listeria outbreak, reports Tech Times. In Michigan and New York, four people in each state contracted listeriosis from the listeria outbreak. Only one case each due to the listeria outbreak has been documented in Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The salads containing the listeria bacteria are sold under the brand name Dole, as well as Simple Truth, Marketside, Fresh Selections, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics.

You can tell if you are harboring a bag of listeria contaminated packaged salad by checking the letter under the sell by date. If the long code beneath the date begins with an “A,” then the CDC highly suggests throwing the package away. The “A” means the package was processed at the Ohio facility, where the listeria outbreak originated. Any other letter is fine, as that means the salad was processed at a different plant.

For adults with a healthy immune system, listeria may cause little to no symptoms. The usual includes diarrhea and fever that lasts only a few days and goes away on its own. At higher risk for listeria outbreak are very young children, elderly adults, and those with a low or compromised immune system. Severe symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, fever, muscle aches, and even meningitis, which is a very serious condition affecting the brain and spinal fluid.

WHAS 11 reports that Simple Truth Organics, a Kroger brand, has been pulled from the shelves pending investigation. One Kroger grocery store in Louisville, Kentucky, posted the following notice upon their empty salad display.

“Valued customer: Our highest priority is your and your family’s safety. Kroger had removed from sale select Dole, Fresh Selctions and Simple Truth Organic packaged salads because they were packaged in a facility that may be linked to a listeria outbreak.

“We are working to restock our full variety of packaged salads as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

As of January 21, Dole had discontinued all processing at the Ohio plant where the listeria outbreak began, and recalled all products released from that facility.

The exact culprit of the listeria outbreak has not been identified as of yet, but the investigation, ongoing since last September, has made great strides in the recent discovery of which facility the listeria was thriving in.

Hopefully answers will soon be forthcoming and Dole can put their salads back on the shelves. In the meantime, however, check your bags for that all-important “A” under the sell by date before you dive into that nutritious bag of yumminess.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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