Recall: 3 deaths linked to listeria contamination of packaged salads

Recalls have been issued for packaged salads from Dole and Fresh Express for potential listeria contamination as part of outbreaks that killed three people, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Brands involved in the Dole recall include:

  • Ahold
  • Dole
  • Kroger
  • Lidl
  • Little Salad Bar
  • Marketside
  • Naturally Better
  • Nature’s Promise
  • Simply Nature

Recalled Dole products include mixed greens, garden salads, Caesar kits and many other types of salads in bags or clamshells with “Best if used by” dates from Nov. 30, 2021 through Jan. 8, 2022. They also include product lot codes with the letter “N” or “Y” in the upper right corner of the package.

Brands involved in the Fresh Express recall include:

  • Fresh Express
  • Bowl & Basket
  • Giant Eagle
  • Little Salad Bar
  • Marketside
  • O Organics
  • Signature Farms
  • Simply Nature
  • Weis Fresh from the Field
  • Wellsley Farms Organic

The Fresh Express recall applies to certain salad items with product codes Z324 through Z350.

A full list of recalled Dole products is available here, and a full list of recalled Fresh Express products is available here.

The listeria outbreak connected to the Dole products was investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019 and 2020, but the CDC said it was unable to identify the source. The investigation was reopened in November 2021 after four new illnesses were reported since August.

This outbreak is connected to a dozen hospitalizations and two deaths.

The outbreak strain found in Fresh Express products were reported from July 2016 though October 2021, leading to 10 hospitalizations and one death. It was connected to Fresh Express products after the Michigan Department of Agriculture found the strain in a bag of packaged salad collected from a grocery store during routine sampling.

It is believed that the true number of people sick in the two outbreaks is likely higher than was reported because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for listeria.

The CDC urged anyone with a recalled salad to throw it away or return it, then to carefully clean refrigerators, containers and surface that may have touched the recalled salads.

It also said to watch for symptoms of a listeria infection, including fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. Pregnant people infected by listeria usually experience only fever, fatigue and muscle aches, but listeria can cause pregnancy los or premature birth.

Symptoms of severe illness usually start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, but may start as early as the same day or 70 days later.

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