Four people have died in the ongoing Dole salad outbreak.

Information obtained in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have proved that Dole found Listeria in the same plant responsible for manufacturing and distributing deadly Listeria-laced lettuce in 2014 and “infrequently” prior to that occurrence.

The records start in 2012, when an inspection was triggered by a Listeria recall of American Blend salad, shed light on the Dole facility at the center of the current outbreak; a center which has been completely shut down since January, when the widespread outbreak was announced by the company.

The inspection results paint a disgusting picture: cracked floors with ruts holding standing water, rust, peeling paint on the walls…

The report goes further: there was condensate on the ceiling above and leaking onto washed and sanitized shredded lettuce, food residue strewn about, ice from temporarily stored boxes of raw produce leaking onto the floor of the finished salad product storage area, leaking water lines, and inadequate screening against pests.

Soft “Encouragement” Enough?

Listeria thrives in cold, wet places, so inspectors “encouraged” the company to find a method that would eliminate or reduce cross-contamination being caused or threatened by the ice melt. The company was aware of the risk, officials told inspectors, but had not discovered a solution that would solve the problem without causing other issues.

The US and Canada have recalled Dole Salads 10 times since the 2012 inspection, but this outbreak marks the first time that they have been linked to illness since an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that led to 203 cases in 2006, resulting in three fatalities. Those salads, however, were produced at a California facility.

There have, however, been five Listeria and two Salmonella recalls in the US and Canada for salads produced at Dole’s Springfield plant since 2012 – the same plant responsible for producing the salads at the heart of the current outbreak.

The Current Outbreak

The current outbreak is lethal, and has been linked to four deaths.

On January 28, 2016, presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a packaged salad produced at Dole’s Springfield, Ohio, facility was confirmed in the FDA’s final testing results. Dole, however, had not waited on the final test results to take action.

On January 21, 2016, the FDA and CDC received notification from Dole that the company that it ceased production of all packaged salads at its Springfield, Ohio facility, and was withdrawing all packaged salads currently on the market that were produced at this facility. Six days later, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. announced that it was recalling all packaged salads produced in its Springfield, Ohio, facility.

These packaged salads were sold under the following brand names: Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar and President’s Choice Organics.

Initial distribution of the salads was made to the following states; however, secondary distribution of some of the products may have occurred, and customers should check any Dole salad products they intend to buy or eat regardless of whether they were purchased in one of the following states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin.

In Canada the link between salads made at the Dole plant in Springfield, Ohio, and a listeriosis outbreak in that country was announced by the Public Health Agency. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall warning covering products from that plant. Recalled products had been shipped to the following Canadian provinces prior to the recall: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

For information about the Dole Listeria outbreak and product recall or any other food poisoning outbreaks, call the lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates 1-888-335-4901.   Talk to a Romaine Lettuce Ecoli Lawyer about filing a Romaine lettuce e coli lawsuit.