A recall of bagged salads produced at a single Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. facility in Springfield, IL has reportedly cost the company a whopping $25 million. The recalled salads were also sold under a number of store brand labels–Aldi, Kroger, Meijer and Walmart.
In January 2016, a Listeria outbreak and subsequent recall prompted the Dole facility to temporarily suspend operations for 4 months while health officials investigated the source of Listeria at the plant. The food safety crisis–which resulted in 19 hospitalizations and one death according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)–has resurfaced as the company has filed an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The $25 million loss is said to be a combination of the cost of recalled products, plus the impact of shutting down the Springfield plant for 4 months.
In the SEC filing, Dole says,
“We routinely evaluate processing innovations and have installed proprietary produce wash technology in each of our salad manufacturing plants. We have also implemented a sanitation program which leverages the most recent advancements in cleaning chemistry, an industry-leading program for environmental surveillance and the latest technology for trending environmental testing results within a produce processing environment.”
Dole’s outbreak was precedent-setting, as it marked the first Listeria outbreak linked to leafy vegetables, according to CDC. Listeria is more commonly associated with deli meats, raw dairy products, raw sprouts and refrigerated or smoked seafoods.
Despite denying all allegations, two civil lawsuits in relation to last year’s recall were recently settled by Dole. The terms of neither agreement have been disclosed. Additional lawsuits are still pending.
Dole’s Springfield plant has since resumed operations, however, reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Justice–with the help of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration–continues to investigate.