Meijer issued a recall across several states last week for some of its fresh produce products sold at various chains, including Meijer and Whole Foods, saying the items may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can lead to a severe form of food poisoning.
The affected products were sold between Sept. 27 through Oct. 20.
This follows in the wake of a nationwide Listeria outbreak traced back to the Dole Food Co. manufacturing plant in Springfield last year. Here are some things we learned from the Springfield Dole outbreak and what you can do to protect yourself.
1. What is Listeria?
Listeria is a food-borne bacteria found in some meats, soft cheeses and raw vegetables. The U.S. has around 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths per year in relation to the bacteria, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever and stiff neck, and can appear as soon as the day of infection or up to 70 days later.
2. More than 30 people infected
Last year, 19 cases of listeriosis were reported in the U.S. that were linked to the Springfield Dole plant, leading to one death in Michigan. An additional 14 cases were reported in Canada. The CDC said this was the first case of Listeria tied to leafy greens in the U.S. As of now, no cases of illnesses have been reported in connection to the Meijer recall.
3. More than $25 million in losses
Due to the Springfield recall and lawsuits that followed, Dole lost $25.5 million in profits for 2016, according to its financial reports. The company restarted production after a four-month shutdown and a review of its food safety practices.
Meijer has stated anyone who has purchased possibly infected items should stop their use immediately and return them to the store of purchase for a full refund. For a complete list of products under the recall, you can visit Meijer’s website.
4. Contamination allegedly found earlier at plant
According to reports from the Food and Drug Administration obtained by the Springfield News-Sun through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Springfield plant had tested positive for Listeria as far back as July 2014.
The food handled at the Springfield plant is safe, said Bil Goldfield, a Dole spokesman, after the reports were released.
“Those FDA reports deal with issues at our plant that we have corrected,” Goldfield said at the time. “We have been working in collaboration with the FDA and other authorities to implement ongoing improved testing, sanitation and procedure enhancements, which have resulted in the recent reopening of our Springfield plant.”
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