Dole packaged salad Listeria outbreak investigation: FDA update

FDA updates Dole packaged salad Listeria outbreak investigation

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FDA updates Dole packaged salad Listeria outbreak investigation

The FDA, along with the CDC and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to Dole packaged leafy greens by epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data.

According to the CDC, as of Feb. 1, 2022, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from 13 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 16, 2014 to Dec. 30, 2021 (one case occurred in 2014 and the remaining cases occurred between 2018 and 2021).

The CDC investigated this outbreak in 2019 and 2020 but was unable to gather enough data to identify the source in the past. CDC reopened the investigation in November 2021 after reports of new illnesses.

The FDA sent investigators to multiple Dole processing facilities to conduct on-site inspections while at the same time Dole initiated their own investigation. On December 22, 2021, Dole voluntarily recalled all products and brands from their Bessemer City, NC, and Yuma, AZ, facilities.

On Jan. 7, 2022, as a result of continued investigations, Dole issued a voluntary recall of additional products after Dole detected the presence of Listeria on equipment used in the harvesting of the raw iceberg lettuce also used in finished products processed in the Dole Springfield, OH, and Soledad, CA, facilities.

These products were shipped throughout the United States and several provinces in Canada. FDA analyzed the positive sample collected by Dole from the harvesting equipment. Results from FDA’s WGS analysis showed that the strain of Listeria found on the harvesting equipment matches the strain causing illnesses in this outbreak.

In addition to this outbreak of listeriosis linked to packaged salads produced by Dole, FDA and CDC are currently investigating a separate Listeria outbreak linked to packaged salads produced by Fresh Express. These investigations are ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available. 

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