Dole Fresh Vegetables Listeria Outbreak and Litigation
Marler Clark filed the first lawsuit against Dole Fresh Vegetables on behalf of victims of a Listeria outbreak originating from the Springfield, Ohio processing plant.
Ohio resident Constance Georgosta filed the suit against Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., after a salad mix tainted with Listeria placed her mother, Kiki Christofield, in a coma. Ms. Georgosta this is seeking damages caused by her mother’s subsequent illness and current condition. The case number is 1:16-cv-00360-TSB.
In late January, 2016, Ms. Georgosta bought a Dole salad mix from a Kroger in Ohio. Days later, her mother, Kiki Christofield, ate some of the salad from the package. The product was later found to be contaminated with the same strain of Listeria found in the recent Listeria outbreak linked to Dole salad products from the Springfield, Ohio processing plant.
On January 23, Kiki Christofield began to feel unwell, and by the 26th of January, she was experiencing extreme head and neck pain, confusion and an altered mental state. The next morning, Mrs. Christofield was taken by ambulance to Bethesda North Hospital in the Cincinnati area. She was treated with morphine for the pain, but discharged soon after.
Her condition worsened over the next several days. On January 31st she was again taken to Bethesda North Hospital. Before the day ended, Kiki Christofield was in a coma, from which she has yet to awaken. She remained hospitalized at Bethesda North Hospital.
The Listeria outbreak from Dole's Springfield, Ohio plan was identified as starting July 5, 2015. On January 27, 2016, Dole issued a voluntary recall on all salad mixes produced at the Springfield plant. The salad mixes were packaged in bags clamshell plastic containers and could be identified by the letter "A" at the beginning of the manufacturer's code on the package.
18 people in the United States and 11 in Canada were identified as contracting Listeria from this outbreak, including one pregnant woman in Michigan. Every patient identified was been hospitalized, and 4 died. 72% of US cases and 55% of Canadian cases are female. Every age group was affected: in the United States, victims range in age from 3 to 83 years old.
This outbreak marks the first Dole recall with illnesses associated since the 2006 E. coli outbreak traced back to Dole spinach. In the 2006 outbreak, the FDA confirmed over 200 illnesses, over 100 hospitalizations, and at least 3 deaths. “People tend to think of fresh foods as safe from foodborne pathogens,” said Bill Marler, attorney for the plaintiff and top food safety attorney. “Listeria is typically a pathogen found in processing establishments rather than coming from growing fields. We are interested to know what environmental testing at Dole’s Springfield facility in the months preceding this outbreak showed.”
All cases from the outbreak were resolved.