The US Food and Drug Administration announced a widespread recall of Dole Foods bagged salad products on Wednesday. The FDA’s official notice warns customers that recalled products could contain a harmful bacteria strain called listeria. Dole issued a similar warning in October and December 2021, indicating a distressing pattern of listeria contamination.
Read on for more information regarding this recall and what to do if you’ve purchased affected products.
Dole Foods and the FDA announced the recall on January 12. The FDA demanded the recall after an independent investigation determined that the equipment Dole used to harvest iceberg lettuce was contaminated with listeria. The iceberg lettuce Dole harvested with the affected machinery was then processed at two plants—one in California, the other in Ohio.
Dole distributed the products packaged in these facilities to 37 US states and some Canadian provinces. For a full list of affected products and states, please check this link. Dole said in an official statement that it is unaware of any illnesses as a result of the listeria contamination.
The recalled products share lot codes starting with “W.” All affected salads have “best by” dates between December 22, 2021, and January 9, 2022. Most items were sold under Dole’s brand name, but some were marketed under private labels.
The FDA urges customers in the aforementioned states to throw away any recalled items. If you still have the receipt for the item, you can return it to the retailer for a full refund. Either way, don’t eat the recalled salad products.
Listeria is a bacteria strain that often lingers on surfaces in industrial settings. Food manufacturers struggle to handle listeria because it is resistant to most forms of disinfectant. The durable bacteria strain is often found on harvesting equipment and in packaging plants.
Listeria can cause illness in humans. Patients usually notice symptoms one to four weeks after ingesting contaminated food, though symptoms can manifest as soon as one day after exposure to the bacteria. The symptoms can include fever, muscle stiffness, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea, and chills.
In some cases, listeria infections can spread beyond the digestive system. If the infection spreads to the central nervous system, it can cause symptoms ranging from headaches and loss of balance to confusion and convulsions.
If you or a family member has ingested a recalled product and experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention. Listeria infections can be life-threatening if they spread to the nervous system and become bacterial meningitis.