Consumer safety: One fatality linked to contaminated salad

When we buy fresh produce, particularly produce that has been pre-packaged, we expect it to be clean and safe for consumption. Unfortunately, produce can be contaminated in a way that can make consumers in Chicago very, very sick.

One person has died and at least 12 have been made ill after consuming bagged salad manufactured by a Dole facility in another state. The salad was reportedly contaminated with listeria. People reported becoming sick back in July 2015. While the 12 cases reported resulted in individuals having to be hospitalized with what were confirmed to be genetically related germs, it is possible that many more people were also made ill due to the salad. An investigation commenced last September, and in January 2016 it was discovered that the listeria could be traced back to the bagged salad.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consumers should not eat salad from that facility. The CDC reports that as of January 21 of this year, Dole had ceased all production at that facility and has taken all the salad at issue off the market. The salad appears in markets under various brand names. According to the CDC, as many as 1,600 individuals are hospitalized with listeria annually and as many as 260 will die. Those with weakened immune systems are at the most risk.

Listeria is just one of many types of bacteria food can be contaminated with. While some people with food poisoning will just spend a miserable few days in bed, others will require hospitalization and some will even die. Consumer safety is an issue that all manufacturers must take very seriously. When a fatality occurs due to contaminated food, it is important to locate the source of the contamination as soon as possible to keep others from becoming ill. That way, the effects of the contamination can be controlled as much as possible and manufacturers of contaminated food products can be held accountable.

Source: NBC News, “Dole Salad Recalled After Listeria Kills 1, Sickens 12,” Maggie Fox, Jan. 22, 2016