Dole Fresh Vegetables has chosen to voluntarily recall 33,600 bags of spinach due to potential salmonella contamination. Though no illnesses have been linked to the incident just yet, the bacteria can prove dangerous, if not deadly, to certain groups of people.
Dole has not reached out to any criminal defense attorneys in seattle. The CDC reports there are more than 1.2 million cases of salmonella-related illness every year. At least 2000 personal injury cases tied to salmonella, 23,000 people are hospitalized, and 450 people die annually.
The Salmonella Contamination was Detected by Michigan Officials
In a random sample test, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development discovered that one particular batch of Dole spinach tested positive for salmonella. No word has been given yet as to how the spinach became contaminated, though the company opted to recall more than 30,000 bags from 13 different states.
Enjoy By Date: October 15
Code Numbers: A27409B and A27409A
Sold In: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Connecticut
Only Bagged Spinach is Affected
The recall does not involve Dole’s mixed salads, nor its baby spinach. Grocers have been advised to remove the products from their shelves, and Dole asks consumers with recalled spinach to discard of it immediately. The company has not yet rolled out a reimbursement strategy, though they have requested that consumers with questions about the recall contact their customer service department directly.
Be Aware of the Symptoms of Salmonella
Salmonella actually refers to group of bacteria, and there are more than 2,500 types. However, the majority of related illnesses are caused by about 100 of them. The symptoms are the same in most cases, and they tend to set in within 12 to 72 hours after infection.
- Abdominal Cramping
Most People Recover within Seven Days
Generally speaking, the illness runs its course in 4 to 7 days, and no additional treatment is needed. Remaining hydrated is of the utmost importance, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce discomfort and fever. Children under five, people with weakened immune systems, and the elderly are at a higher risk for complications, which typically revolve around dehydration.
While the infection usually remains localized to a person’s intestines, it can also reach the bloodstream. In these cases, prompt antibiotic treatment from a doctor is essential. It’s also worth noting that the CDC indicates it can take months following a salmonella infection for an individual’s digestive tract to resume normalcy, and some people develop reactive arthritis, a condition that results in painful joints. Reactive arthritis can develop into chronic arthritis, or the symptoms may not subside for months or years.
Tips for Preventing a Salmonella Infection
- Washing fruits and vegetables may not completely rid them of salmonella, so anytime a recall is issued, it’s best to discard the potentially-tainted food.
- Always cook meat and poultry thoroughly, and do not consume anything with raw eggs or milk in it.
- Keep different types of food separate throughout the holding, handling, and cooking stages, to avoid cross-contamination.
- Practice good hygiene by washing hands before eating and before cooking food.
- Certain animals, like reptiles, birds, and baby chicks, are known to harbor the bacteria. Always wash hands after coming in contact with pets or their feces.
- Visit the CDC website for more prevention tips.
Salmonella Outbreaks are Too Common
The Dole salad recall is just one of several salmonella-related recalls happening right now. Any type of food has the potential to become contaminated and cause illness. Salmonella is the leading cause of foodborne illness, and the rate of infections has not declined in the past 15 years. Sadly, as Lynne Terry of The Oregonian points out, even agencies like the USDA have little power to correct issues. After a decade of fighting to have recurrent Foster Farms outbreaks stopped, state agencies only marginally succeeded.
Though consumers have a responsibility to handle food properly, food manufacturers, processors, and restaurants are required to follow healthy practices as well. When they don’t, they can be held accountable for their actions. Courts often order reparations to cover medical bills and time away from work if a company acted negligently. In severe cases, companies that fail to follow safety protocols will also be required to handle final expenses, and the loss of wages for a family’s breadwinner. While Dole may have acted appropriately in this situation, not all companies do, and those affected by food-contamination illnesses have a right to hold responsible parties accountable.