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Listeria Blog Surveillance & Analysis on Listeria News & Outbreaks

Listeria in Dole Lettuce in the US and Canada

Since September 2015, CDC has been collaborating with public health officials in several states and the FDA to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. 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.  Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania state impacted.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections in five provinces. To date, the source of this outbreak has not been confirmed. However prepackaged leafy greens, salad blends, and salad kits are food items being investigated. Currently, there are seven (7) cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (3), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between September 2015 and early January 2016. The majority of cases (71%) are female, with an average age of 81 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of death.

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. 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.

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., is temporarily suspending operations at its Springfield, Ohio production facility, and is voluntarily withdrawing from the market all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at that location (see the product list at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/) Products subject to the voluntary withdrawal are identified with a product code beginning with the letter “A” in the upper right-hand corner of the package (see example below), and are sold in the following states and Canadian provinces noted below. This suspension and withdrawal is being performed voluntarily by Dole out of an abundance of caution, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. See more about this withdrawal at www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/ No additional Dole facilities are affected. Other Dole products, including fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and packaged salads from Dole’s other processing facilities (with product codes beginning with the letters “B” or “N”), are not part of this voluntary withdrawal.