A recall has been initiated for Dole salad bags, after random sampling of certain Italian style salads were found to contain listeria monocytogens, which is bacteria that may cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
The Dole bagged salad recall was announced by the FDA on March 13, after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency identified the potential presence of the bacteria. Although there have been no reported illnesses in connection with the recalled salads, health officials indicate that the products may pose a risk of listeria food poisoning.
The recall includes Dole Italian Blend salads with UPC 714300081, Fresh Selections Italian Style Blend with UPC 1111091045, Little Salad Bar Italian Salads with UPC 4149811014 and Marketside Italian Style Salads with UPC 8113102780. The bags of lettuce are coded with either A058201A or B and have a “Use-By date of March 12, 2014. The product code and Use-by date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package and the UPC code can be located on the back of the packaging.
Although the salads are being recalled one day after their “Use-By” date, health officials worry that customers may still consume the products.
Due to the products being one day past their “Use-By” date, the salad products should no longer be available on stores shelves, but retailers have been advised to check their inventories and confirm the product is no longer available for purchase. Dole Fresh Vegetable customer service representatives have started contacting all known retailers to advise them of the possible listeria contamination.
The salad products were manufactured by Dole Fresh Vegetables and distributed in 15 states in the U.S. and 3 provinces in Canada. The following states and provinces had the salad products shipped to retail and various grocery stores for sale; Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.
Listeria has become more prevalent and concerning than some of the more common contaminations such as Salmonella, simply because most people do not experience symptoms immediately. In healthy individuals, symptoms may include muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, severe headaches and fever. However, children, the elderly, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems may be at a particularly increased risk of listeria infections.
In some of the more severe cases of listerosis the bacteria can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and nervous system resulting in meningitis and other complications. Among pregnant women, infection may increase the risk of miscarriages and still births
Customers or retailers with affected salad products should stop consuming them immediately and contact Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at 800-356-3111 for further information.