Ohio health officials respond to deadly listeria outbreak at local Dole plant

(Courtesy: WDTN)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The CDC has known about a Listeria outbreak since September, but is just now alerting consumers because although they knew there was a problem, they couldn’t pinpoint the source.

They got their answer after the Ohio Department of Agriculture tested a bag of Dole salad and it came back positive for listeria. That led investigators to the plant in Springfield.

Along with the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to launch its own investigation into the deadly outbreak. As of late Friday, the CDC reports the illness has been linked to cases in six states, including, Michigan, Massachusetts, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

The CDC reports one death in Michigan and say the eleven other cases all resulted in hospitalizations. Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson says it’s important consumers know what’s inside their fridge…because if Listeria is not properly dealt with it can spread.

“It can spread when it’s in an environment that is uncooked and it’s eaten without being heated to the correct temperature,” Patterson said. “Or where it’s not been properly washed off produce or fruits and vegetables.”

The virus can be connected to raw fruits and vegetables, meat and soft cheeses. Patterson says for most healthy adults if they get the virus they may not see any symptoms or signs of it.

“The folks that are most at risk would be pregnant women and frail elderly or folks with immune compromise systems,” Patterson said.

In the meantime, the plant is voluntarily withdrawing it’s products packaged at the facility from store shelves as federal officials investigate what lead to the outbreak.

To know if your bag is contaminated, the CDC says the manufacturing code on the contaminated bags starts with the letter “A”.

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