No matter how many times your salad says “pre-washed”, it is always a good idea to rinse it one more time before serving.
The CDC issues a warning on the 22nd of January against Dole Salads regarding an outbreak of listeria. The infection originated from a Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and ended with 1 dead and a dozen hospitalized patients.
Listeria is a foodborne bacterial illness that can have damaging effects on the health of individuals with impaired immune systems and pregnant women. It originates from unwashed products, unpasteurized dairy products or raw meats.
This bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing. Most often it is cured by antibiotics but sometimes it can be fought off by the immune system itself. Still, an outbreak can have some life-threating issues like:
- Generalized blood infection (Septicemia)
- Meningitis- Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain
If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system you can expect:
- Constant Headaches
- Loss of balance
- Stiff neck
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, accompanied by muscle pain, nausea, fever or diarrhea, consult your doctor immediately!
Every year in the U.S around 1600 get sick and a staggering 260 die due to listeria infections. The last big outbreak recorded in the U.S was in 2012.
A smaller listeria outbreak was recorded at the end of 2015. Then, the CDC began an investigation with a cooperation with the FDA. They were investigating the outbreak of monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) that took place in several different states.
Those who were affected by the bacteria ranged from 3 to 83 and included one pregnant woman. 1 of them died and 12 others were hospitalized.
This outbreak is said to have affected not just Dole, but other brands of salads as well:
- The Little Salad Bar
- Fresh Selections
- President’s Choice Organic
- Simple Truth
These packed salads were sold in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that salads packaged at other facilities are linked to the outbreak.
The outbreak has also spread to Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 7 people were hospitalized in this listeria outbreak.
Due to the outbreaks, Dole Food Co. has voluntarily withdrawn their packed salads from 23 different states and 3 Canadian provinces and suspended operations at the Ohio’s processing plant.
The CFIA recall applied to 48 kinds of Dole pre-packaged salads and 9 different kinds PC Organics. They all come from the Ohio plant and can be identified by a product code beginning with the letter A.
If you have already bought any of these pre-packed salads, the CDC recommends the following:
- Throw the salad in a sealed plastic bag in order to avoid their consumption by other people or animals. Wash the drawer of your fridge where you kept the product thoroughly, using soap and hot water. Don’t forget to also wash all the utensils and surfaces you used to serve or store salads. If you want to be even more cautious, you can also use vinegar and hot water mix for the same cause. After you have finished cleaning up, wash your hands.
- If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, go visit a doctor.
In order to prevent further contamination or illnesses, these are the FDA recommendations:
- Wash all countertops, cutting boards and knives after you have prepared uncooked foods. Wash your hands afterward.
- Rinse all raw products under running water. Even if you plan to peel the produce, it should be washed first.
- Dry all the rinsed produce with a clean cloth.
- Scrub melons, cucumbers and other firm produce with a clean produce brush.
- Separate vegetables and cooked meals from raw meat and poultry
- Keep the refrigerator at 40°F or lower and the freezer below 0°F in order to prevent listeria monocytogenes.
- Clean-up all spills in the fridge immediately.
- Clean the shelves and inside walls of your fridge weekly with dish soap and hot water.
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