Dole says Springfield shutdown, recall cost company $25.5M


A voluntary recall and four-month shutdown of Dole’s Springfield plant cost the company more that $25 million last year, according to documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

The recall and shutdown were mentioned several times in a lengthy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering for Dole.

RELATED: FDA: Dole knew of listeria in Springfield before outbreak

The Springfield distribution center has since reopened. The listeria outbreak, and resulting lawsuits, were discussed as potential risk factors as part of the filing. The U.S. Department of Justice is also conducting an ongoing investigation into the outbreak, according to information from the company.

“Even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or is not fully pursued, the negative publicity surrounding any assertion that our products caused illness or injury could adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential customers and our corporate and brand image,” Dole says in the filing. “Moreover, claims and liabilities of this sort might not be covered by our insurance or by any rights of indemnity or contribution that we may have against others. ”

MORE: Lawsuit filed against Dole in outbreak linked to Springfield

Dole representatives declined to comment on the filing this week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the Justice Department as part of the investigation. Officials with the FDA said no updates are available in the case and didn’t provide further details. Justice Department officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In its filing, Dole also touted its food safety practices and says it continuously looks for ways to strengthen its food safety and agricultural practices.

DETAILS: Springfield Dole inspections showed no issues before listeria outbreak

“We routinely evaluate processing innovations and have installed proprietary produce wash technology in each of our salad manufacturing plants,” the filing says. “We have also implemented a sanitation program which leverages the most recent advancements in cleaning chemistry, an industry-leading program for environmental surveillance and the latest technology for trending environmental testing results within a produce processing environment.”

Dole voluntarily recalled pre-packaged salads and closed the Springfield plant in January 2016 after an investigation linked the site to a suspected outbreak of listeria. Dole says in its SEC filing that it’s received notice of several claims of illnesses and two deaths potentially relating to the outbreak.

Federal investigators became aware of the outbreak using PulseNet, a network used to monitor food poisoning cases. They eventually tied the outbreak to 22 packaged salad products under the Dole brand, as well as several store brands for Kroger, Aldi, Meijer and Wal-Mart. Dole stopped production and voluntarily recalled the affected products.

READ MORE: More illnesses linked to Springfield Dole plant update

The Springfield News-Sun recently reported Dole has reached tentative settlements in two separate civil lawsuits related to the outbreak, although the terms of those agreements weren’t disclosed. The two cases involved one woman from Warren County and a separate woman from Franklin County.

Dole denied the allegations in both cases, court records show.

Dole’s filing states the company is also defending against cases in Indiana, Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Each of the pending cases are in the early stages, according to information from the company.

“We are in the process of responding to the DOJ subpoena,” the SEC filing says. “In the opinion of management, after consultation with legal counsel, the claims or actions related to the packaged salads recall are not expected to have a material adverse effect, individually or in the aggregate, on our financial position or results of operations because the probable loss is not material.”

DETAILS: Congresswoman wants to close Dole Springfield plant after outbreak

Dole’s revenues shrank slightly in 2016, which the company attributed in part to the shutting down of operations in Springfield. Overall documents filed by the company show revenue dipped to about $4.5 billion last year compared to $4.6 billion in 2015. The company also cited factors like lower volumes of strawberries, which also led to lower revenue last year.

“Packaged salad revenues decreased by $85.6 million mainly due to the four month temporary plant shutdown and related decrease in production capacity in the Springfield, Ohio, facility,” company documents say. “Our fresh-packed vegetables operations also experienced $42.7 million in lower pricing across all major product lines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last fall that said the case was the first time a listeriosis outbreak was tied to leafy vegetables. That contributed to the length of time it took investigators to identify the source of the listeriosis outbreak, federal officials said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Springfield game store looking to expand to second location
Springfield game store looking to expand to second location

A popular Springfield game store may be expanding to a second location soon. Game Cycle, located at 1300 St. Paris Rd., is well known among game enthusiasts in the area for both its retro and modern offerings, as well as its arcade. Since coming under new management in 2016, the store has expanded to house over 90 cabinets in its arcade, owner Eric...
School expert: How to help at-risk students and know where ‘the line’ is
School expert: How to help at-risk students and know where ‘the line’ is

Schools aiming to minimize violent incidents should teach students and staff how to reach out to at-risk students, as well identify which types of warning signs are most serious, an Ohio school psychologist says. Local schools have fortified doors, added cameras and in some cases armed staff in recent years, but Erich Merkle, past president of the...
Mercy Health merger: Facts and figures to know about the company
Mercy Health merger: Facts and figures to know about the company

Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest employers in the state, has announced it intends to merge with Bon Secours Health System, an East Coast-based health network. The merger will create one of largest health networks in the nation when the deal is finalized. Here are facts and figures about the company to keep in mind...
New jobs, new stores and closings rocked local retail this week
New jobs, new stores and closings rocked local retail this week

Consumers are spending big in 2018. An improving economy kept January retail sales nearly as good as the holiday season’s strong showing. The National Retail Federation announced sales increased 5.4 percent in January compared to last year at the same time. READ MORE Bon-Ton Stores Inc., parent company of Elder-Beerman, is starting going-out-of-business...
Dayton web curating company gets Silicon Valley shoutout
Dayton web curating company gets Silicon Valley shoutout

If you have worthwhile content, a sizable social media following and the vision to monetize all of that, then Arielle Jordan would like a word with you. Jordan, of Miamisburg, is the creator of Curafied, a new Internet platform that enables users to place what they believe is expert, valuable content behind a paywall for publication in a user-friendly...
More Stories