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Deaths, hospitalizations reported amid listeria outbreak linked to Dole salads

Dole Fresh Vegetables recalled several kinds of packaged salads in December and January.
Dole Fresh Vegetables is recalling more than 70 varieties of bagged salads due to listeria concerns.
Dole Fresh Vegetables is recalling more than 70 varieties of bagged salads due to listeria concerns.Sue Ogrocki / AP

Two people have died and 13 people have been hospitalized amid a listeria outbreak linked to packaged salads, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Some of these cases could be linked to packaged salads that were included in two recent, major recalls by Dole Fresh Vegetables. However, the wider listeria outbreak being investigated by the CDC dates back to 2014.

The people known to be affected by this outbreak live across 13 states. The two people who died lived in Michigan and Wisconsin.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and this outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC noted in a release. “This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria.”

This new data comes less than a month after Dole Fresh Vegetables recalled several kinds of packaged salads over listeria contamination concerns.

The company, which produces Dole-branded salads as well as other brands of packaged greens, announced in January that they were recalling salad mixtures containing iceberg lettuce that were produced at their facilities in Springfield, Ohio, and Soledad, California.

The recall was issued after some equipment used to harvest iceberg lettuce was tested and found to contain Listeria monocytogenes, a type of bacteria that can cause disease.

Recalled products included several Dole-branded mixed salads, as well as salads produced under different brand names, including Marketside, President’s Choice, Kroger and Little Salad Bar.

The products subject to recall from the Springfield, Ohio, facility had a product code beginning with “W” and a “Best if Used By” date between Dec. 22, 2021 and Jan. 9, 2022, according to a release from the Food and Drug Administration.

Dole Fresh Vegetables shared some examples of where to locate product codes on their packaging.
Dole Fresh Vegetables shared some examples of where to locate product codes on their packaging.fda.gov

Products from the Soledad, California, facility affected by the recall had a product code starting with “B” and a “Best if Used By” date between Dec. 23, 2021, and Jan. 8, 2022. 

The recall included salads sold in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. 

Some affected products were also sold in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

In total, 72 varieties of packaged salads were included in the recall. The FDA urged anyone who found any of the recalled salads in their fridge to throw them away. The agency also noted at the time that no illnesses had been reported in connection with these products.

In December 2021, Dole Fresh Vegetables also recalled more than 180 varieties of packaged salad from their facilities in Bessemer City, North Carolina, and Yuma, Arizona, also due to listeria concerns.

According to the FDA, anyone with questions or concerns about the latest recall should contact the Dole Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT.

This article was been updated on Feb. 4 with information about the CDC’s Feb. 1 report on deaths and hospitalizations amid the listeria outbreak linked to certain Dole packaged salads.