Three new cases were linked to a listeriosis outbreak tied to Dole s production facility Thursday, according to information from the CDC. Stores across the region have pulled pre-packaged salads produced at the site from their shelves. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Photo: HANDOUT
Photo: HANDOUT

Dole restarting operations at Springfield facility

The plant was voluntarily closed after it was linked to a listeria outbreak .

Limited production has restarted at Dole’s Springfield facility and will expand in the coming weeks after a listeria outbreak linked to the facility has ended, according to company officials.

The outbreak was linked to salads produced at the Springfield facility, and affected the health of 19 people in the U.S. and 14 people in Canada, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the 19 in the U.S., one man in Michigan died as a result of listeriosis.

Three people died in Canada, although it has not been determined if listeria contributed to the cause of those deaths, according to information from the Canadian Public Health Agency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating how the products may have become contaminated, but said no new details were available Monday.

Company officials released few new details, but said in a press release that production at the Springfield site will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks. The company is expected to provide further updates as the plant resumes normal operations.

Company officials thanked employees in Springfield for their support during the outbreak. No other Dole facilities have been affected by the outbreak, according to the CDC.

“We’re grateful for the support of all our employees and the town of Springfield,” Howard Roeder, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables said in a press release. “Their commitment has been, and will always be, the cornerstone of the Dole Fresh Vegetables organization.”

Listeria is a food-borne bacteria typically found in raw vegetables and meats, as well as some soft cheeses. About 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths due to listeriosis occur annually in the U.S., according to information from the CDC.

In January, Dole officials voluntarily recalled all Dole Brand and private-label packaged salads produced at the site. It also temporarily closed the facility during the investigation.

The recalled products included several brands and varieties of salad mixes throughout the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. The products were identified by the letter “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the packages.

Brands impacted include Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar and President’s Choice Organics. Any recalled salad mixes still in consumers’ homes would be past their expiration dates, according to the CDC.

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