CDC Currently Investigating Two Separate Listeria Outbreaks

Defective Product | Personal Injury | DiSandro & Malloy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it is “currently investigating two separate Listeria outbreaks linked to packaged salads. This outbreak is linked to packaged salads produced by Fresh Express. The other outbreak is linked to packaged salads produced by Dole.”  The CDC reported that “on December 20, 2021, Fresh Express recalled several brands of packaged salad products. The recall includes all Use-By Dates with product codes Z324 through Z350. Brands include Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field, and Wellsley Farms Organic.”

The following link contains the CDC’s announcement regarding the outbreak. https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/packaged-salad-12-21-b/index.html

Below is an exert from a statement released by Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. regarding a voluntary recall due to possible contamination:

“Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., is voluntarily recalling from the market all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Bessemer City, NC and its Yuma, AZ production facilities due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. and is also temporarily suspending operations at both facilities to conduct an extensive cleaning and sanitation protocol.  Products subject to the voluntary recall are identified by a product lot code beginning with either the letter “N” or “Y” in the upper right-hand corner of the package (see examples below) and will have a “Best if Used By” date between November 30, 2021, and January 8, 2022. Consumers who still have any of these products in their refrigerators are urged not to consume the product and to discard it immediately.”

https://www.dole.com/en/press/2021/20211222-bessemer-city-yuma-recall

Per the CDC, this listeria outbreak has affected eight states and has resulted in ten hospitalizations and one death.  The following map posted by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/packaged-salad-12-21-b/map.html depicts the states that have been affected:

CDC Map | Listeria

“Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.”  https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html

Can I bring a personal injury lawsuit for listeriosis?

If you have contracted listeriosis, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your pain and suffering, wage loss, and medical bills.  Bringing a claim, however, will depend on the ability to determine how you contracted listeriosis.  In other words, it will be necessary to determine which food item that you consumed was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  

As such, time is of the essence once you or a loved one has contracted listeriosis.  While your focus should be on getting better, it is important that an attorney with experience in listeriosis and other foodborne illness cases be retained as soon as possible to preserve all necessary evidence.

The first step will be to determine which food item was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.   The best way to accomplish this is to go back through each food item consumed and identify which of those items have the potential for carrying Listeria monocytogenes.  The Food and Drug Administration identifies the following sources:

By eating ready-to-eat meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products that are contaminated with L. monocytogenes. You can also get listeriosis by eating contaminated foods processed or packaged in unsanitary conditions or by eating fruits and vegetables that are contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer.

https://www.fda.gov/food/health-educators/listeria-food-safety-moms-be

Once these items are identified, it will be necessary to have these items examined by the appropriate expert to determine which, if any, are contaminated.  Assuming a contaminated food item is identified, it will then be necessary to determine the source of the contamination (manufacturing process, improper food storage, improper food handling, cross-contamination, etc…) as this will determine who can be held responsible for the listeriosis.

In short, every listeria case is different and requires an in-depth examination of the circumstances to determine who can be held responsible.  It is important that you retain an attorney with experience in cases involving listeria and other foodborne illnesses given how complex these cases can be.

The attorneys at DiSandro and Malloy, P.C. have the experience necessary to handle these often difficult cases.  If you or a loved one has contracted listeriosis, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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