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Public Health Notice Update – Outbreak of Listeria infections linked to packaged salad products produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

March 17, 2016 - Update

This is the final update related to this outbreak as the investigation is coming to a close.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada collaborated with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Dole and  PC Organics packaged salad products produced from a US processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. Given that the source of the outbreak was identified and contaminated products have been recalled from the market  the outbreak investigation coordinating committee has been deactivated and the investigation is coming to a close.

Laboratory results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed a link between recalled packaged salad products and the outbreak of listeriosis in five provinces. Laboratory testing and analysis completed by the Public Health Agency has confirmed that the Canadian and US Listeria outbreaks are highly genetically related. 

On Friday, January 22, CFIA issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recall to Dole and PC Organics packaged salad products under various product names that were distributed in eastern provinces.

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Eating food with Listeria on it can cause a serious disease, called listeriosis, in high-risk groups.

Investigation Summary

In total, there were 14 cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (9), Quebec (2), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

Individuals became sick between May 2015 and February 2016. The majority of Canadians cases (64%) are female, with an average age of 78 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and three people have died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of these deaths.

Who is most at risk?

Some people face a higher risk of becoming sick with Listeria than others. Those who are at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women and their unborn/newborn children, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems.

What you should do to protect your health?

Although it unlikely any recalled products are still available, if you have recalled packaged salad products from the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio in your home, do not eat them. For a list of product brands and names, as well as stores that these products were sold at, please read the recall notice.

If you are unsure whether your packaged salad product was part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.

Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator.

If you suspect you have become ill from eating a Dole packaged salad product, or have symptoms consistent for listeriosis, talk with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms

Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Severe symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • poor coordination
  • seizures
  • neck stiffness

In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start several days after consuming a product contaminated with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high-risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial, and international partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The CFIA conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

February 2, 2016 - Update

This notice has been updated to advise Canadians of four (4) cases of Listeria that have been added to the national investigation. These illnesses were previously reported in Ontario, and are not new illnesses; however, additional laboratory test results have now confirmed a link between these four illnesses and the previously recalled packaged salad products.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Dole and PC Organics packaged salad products produced from a US processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

Laboratory results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a link between recalled packaged salad products and the outbreak of listeriosis in five provinces. Laboratory testing and analysis completed by the Public Health Agency has confirmed that the Canadian and US Listeria outbreaks are highly genetically related.

On Friday, January 22, CFIA issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recall to Dole and PC Organics packaged salad products under various product names that were distributed in eastern provinces.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians not to consume packaged salad products that have been processed at the Dole facility in Springfield, Ohio. This includes a variety of Dole and PC Organics brand items. These products can be identified by letter the "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. For a full list of products, please refer to the CFIA recall notice.

The overall risk to Canadians is low. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Eating food with Listeria on it can cause a serious disease, called listeriosis, in high-risk groups.

Ongoing Investigation

Currently, there are 11 cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (7), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

Individuals became sick between May 2015 and early January 2016. Some of the individuals who became ill have reported eating packaged salads. It is suspected that these salads were produced at the Dole facility in Ohio. The majority of Canadians cases (55%) are female, with an average age of 79 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and three people have died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of these deaths.

Who is most at risk?

Some people face a higher risk of becoming sick with Listeria than others. Those who are at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women and their unborn/newborn children, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems. High-risk individuals should not consume the recalled products.

What you should do to protect your health?

If you have packaged salad products from the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio in your home, do not eat them. For a list of product brands and names, as well as stores that these products were sold at, please read the recall notice.

If you are unsure whether your packaged salad product is part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.

Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator.

If you suspect you have become ill from eating a Dole packaged salad product, or have symptoms consistent for listeriosis, talk with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms

Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Severe symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • poor coordination
  • seizures
  • neck stiffness

In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start severaldays after consuming a product contaminated with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high-risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial, and international partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The CFIA conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983

January 27, 2016 - Update

This notice has been updated to advise Canadians of a laboratory confirmed link to packaged salads products from the Dole processing plant in Springfield, Ohio. A food recall warning had previously been issued from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Dole packaged salad products produced from a US processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

Laboratory results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed a link between recalled packaged salad products and the outbreak of listeriosis in five provinces.

On Friday, January 22, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recall to Dole packaged salad products under various product names that were distributed in eastern provinces.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians not to consume packaged salad products that have been processed at the Dole facility in Springfield, Ohio. This includes Dole brand items as well as items sold under other brand names. These products can be identified by letter the "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. For a full list of products, please refer to the CFIA recall notice.

The overall risk to Canadians is low. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Eating food with Listeria on it can cause a serious disease, called listeriosis, in high-risk groups.

Ongoing Investigation

Currently, there are seven (7) cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (3), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between September 2015 and early January 2016. Some of the individuals who became ill have reported eating packaged salads. It is suspected that these salads were produced at the Dole facility in Ohio. The majority of Canadians cases (71%) are female, with an average age of 81 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of death.

Who is most at risk?

Some people face a higher risk of becoming sick with Listeria than others. Those who are at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women and their unborn/newborn children, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems. High-risk individuals should not consume the recalled products.

What you should do to protect your health?

If you have packaged salad products from the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio in your home, do not eat them. For a list of product brands and names, as well as stores that these products were sold at, please read the recall notice.

If you are unsure whether your packaged salad product is part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.

Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator.

If you suspect you have become ill from eating a Dole packaged salad product, or have symptoms consistent for listeriosis, talk with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms

Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Severe symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • poor coordination
  • seizures
  • neck stiffness

In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start the following day after consuming a product with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high-risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal, provincial, and international partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The CFIA conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983

January 23, 2016 - Update

This notice has been updated to advise Canadians not to consume packaged salads products from the Dole processing plant in Springfield, Ohio. A food recall warning has been issued from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Why you should take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Food and Drug Administration to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Dole packaged salad products produced from a US processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recall to Dole packaged salad products under various product names that have been distributed in eastern provinces.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians not to consume packaged salad products that have been processed at the Dole facility in Springfield, Ohio. This includes Dole brand items as well as items sold under other brand names. For a full list of products, please refer to the CFIA recall notice. These products can be identified by letter "A" at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package.

The overall risk to Canadians is low. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Eating food with Listeria on it can cause a serious disease, called listeriosis, in high-risk groups.

Ongoing Investigation

Currently, there are seven (7) cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (3), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between September 2015 and early January 2016. Some of the individuals who became ill have reported eating packaged salads. It is suspected that these salads were produced at the Dole facility in Ohio. The majority of Canadians cases (71%) are female, with an average age of 81 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of death.

Who is most at risk?

Some people face a higher risk of becoming sick with Listeria than others. Those who are at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women and their unborn/newborn children, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems. High-risk individuals should not consume the recalled products.

What you should do to protect your health?

If you have packaged salad products from the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio in your home, do not eat them. For a list of product brands and names, as well as stores that these products were sold at, please read the recall notice.

If you are unsure whether your packaged salad product is part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.

Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator.

If you suspect you have become ill from eating a Dole packaged salad product, or have symptoms consistent for listeriosis, talk with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms

Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Severe symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • poor coordination
  • seizures
  • neck stiffness

In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start the following day after consuming a product with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high-risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The CFIA conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983

January 20, 2016 - Original Notice

Information is reviewed on a regular basis and updated as required.

Why you should take note

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections in five provinces. To date, the source of this outbreak has not been confirmed. However prepackaged leafy greens, salad blends and salad kits are food items being investigated. This notice will be updated as new information becomes available.

At this time, the risk to Canadians is low, but given that Listeria can cause severe illness to some high-risk groups, Canadians are being asked to review and follow proper safe food handling practices in an effort to prevent illnesses.

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in food, soil, plants, sewage and other places in nature. Eating food with Listeria on it can cause a serious disease, called listeriosis, in high-risk groups. People can get listeriosis by eating meat, fish, dairy products, plants or vegetables contaminated with Listeria.

Ongoing Investigation

Currently, there are seven (7) cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (3), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between September 2015 and early January 2016. The majority of cases (71%) are female, with an average age of 81 years. All cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died, however it has not been determined if Listeria contributed to the cause of death.

Who is most at risk?

Some people face a higher risk of becoming sick with Listeria than others. Those who are at highest risk of serious illness include pregnant women and their unborn/newborn children, adults 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems. High-risk individuals should follow safe food handling practices and avoid high risk food items such as:

  • uncooked meat and vegetables including pre-packaged leafy greens;
  • unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheeses and other food made from unpasteurized milk;
  • ready-to-eat meats such as hot dogs, pâté and deli meats; and
  • refrigerated smoked seafood and fish.

What you should do to protect your health?

Following safe food handling practices is the key to preventing Listeria and the spread of foodborne illnesses. Foods that are contaminated with Listeria may look, smell and taste normal. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and sometimes grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator. Listeria can be killed by cooking food properly, and illnesses can be avoided by following these food safety tips:

  • Thoroughly clean fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Wash your leafy greens under fresh, cool running water.
  • Don't soak leafy greens in a sink full of water. They can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces used for food preparation after handling foods in the kitchen, especially raw foods such as meat and fish.
  • Read and follow all package labels and instructions on food preparation and storage.
  • Cook foods thoroughly, using a clean thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • To avoid cross-contamination, clean all knives, cutting boards and utensils used with for raw food before using them again.
  • Refrigerate or freeze prepared food and leftovers within two hours.
  • Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave, but never at room temperature.
  • Keep leftovers for a maximum of four days, but preferably for only two to three days. Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) before eating them.
  • Check the temperature in your refrigerator using a thermometer to make sure it is at 4°C (40°F) or below. The higher the temperature in your refrigerator, the greater the risk that Listeria may grow in foods. The risk of getting sick increases as the number of bacteria in food rises.
  • Wash and disinfect your refrigerator frequently. The more often it is cleaned, the less chance there will be for Listeria to be transferred from contaminated food and surfaces to non-contaminated foods.

Symptoms

Many people are exposed to Listeria, but only a few will actually develop listeriosis. Mild symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

Severe symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • poor coordination
  • seizures
  • neck stiffness

In the milder form of the disease, symptoms can start the following day after consuming a product with Listeria. For the more serious form of the disease, the incubation period is generally much longer; on average about 21 days, but can be up to 70 days after exposure.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key, especially for people at high risk, such as pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.

Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak.

The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians if new information related to this investigation becomes available.

Additional information

Media Contact

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
613-957-2983