Do Not Eat Or Serve Another Bag Of Salad Until You’ve Read This! (1 Dead, 12 More Hospitalized)

The CDC in January 2016, gave a warning to Dole salads of Springfield, Ohio on the possibility of their salads harbouring the dangerous bacteria -- listeria.

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This bacteria is foodborne and can be very harmful to people with a weak immune system and pregnant women.

The bacteria infection can be found in unpasteurized dairy products, raw meat and unwashed products, it is also known to withstand refrigeration.

The human body would normally fight the bacteria when the immune system is strong, but if this is not the case then antibiotics are usually recommended for treatment.


An outbreak however can lead to life-threatening conditions which include;

  • The fluid that surrounds the brain and membranes can be inflamed (meningitis)
  • It can cause Septicemia which is an infection of the blood
  • If the bacteria infection gets to the nervous system it can lead to the following;

1. A stiff neck

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2. Loss of your balance

3. Persistent headaches

4. Confusion and poor alertness

5. Convulsions

It can also cause nausea, diarrhea, fever and muscle pains.

In the U.S according to the CDC about 1,600 people are infected by listeria annually and out of this number about 260 people die from the disease.

There is an inter-governmental investigation involving the CDC, FDA and public health officials into the Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) outbreak that occurred in the states of New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Indiana.

The 2015 outbreak affected people aged from 3 to 83 years also a pregnant woman was infected.

At the end of the day 12 people were hospitalized and one person from Michigan died.

The listeria outbreak was not caused by Dole salads only but other brands were found to be equally culpable. The other brands include;

  • Fresh Selections
  • The Little Salad Bar
  • Simple Truth
  • Marketside
  • President’s Choice Organic

These brands are readily available in the following states across the U.S:

  • New York
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Illinois
  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • South Carolina
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina

Recent investigation has found that Dole packaged salad at other processing facilities in America is free from the bacteria.

This outbreak if listeria was also found in the products outside the U.S, in Canadian supermarkets they were seen to be infected with listeria. Exported products have a code that starts with the letter “A”.

There was a recall of about 48 types of the Dole pre-packaged chopped salads, also salad blends and kits, and about 9 different types of PC leafy greens -- organic brand.

The good news is there is no report of any hospitalization of any Canadians thus far.

As a result of the outbreak Dole Fresh Vegetables on Friday, January 22nd, informed the FDA that it will temporarily put an end to its operations at its Springfield processing facility.

Dole Fresh Vegetables also voluntarily withdrew from the market all their products that were processed in the Springfield facility.

If by any chance you currently have any of these products in your fridge then it is advisable that you adhere to these guidelines as recommended by the CDC;

  • Avoid eating these products; you can throw the salad in a sealed plastic bag and a closed dustbin.
  • Use soap and hot water to wash your fridge’s drawer or anywhere the product was kept.
  • Wash thoroughly all utensils and cutting boards used for the salad. Use hot water and soap, you can also use a hot water and vinegar solution to wash the kitchen utensils.
  • Wash your hands very well with soap and warm water.

If you exhibit any of the symptoms highlighted earlier see your doctor immediately.

The FDA also recommends that you observe the following in order to avoid contamination and prevent illnesses.

  • Always try to keep your kitchen as clean as possible
  • Once you have prepared raw food, thoroughly wash your cutting board, knives and other utensils used.
  • Wash your countertops as well.
  • Also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Keep you fridge at 40°F or lower and your freezer at 0°F or lower, this will prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in your refrigerated foods.
  • Make sure all spills in your fridge or freezer from raw beef, poultry, hot dogs and lunch meat packages are properly cleaned.
  • Clean the inside walls and shelves of your fridge every week with soap and hot water.
  • Make sure you rinse all raw food under running water before cooking or eating them.
  • Use a clean brush to scrub melons and cucumbers or any firm product.
  • Make sure you use a disposable towel or clean cloth to with your food after rinsing and before eating.
  • Try to always keep vegetables and your cooked food separated from poultry or raw beef and pork.

Sources and References:

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