Dole Food Co Inc said on Friday the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to packaged salad products from its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio.
Dole, the world's largest fruit and vegetable producer, said in a statement the agency recently contacted the company and "we will be ... cooperating with the DOJ to answer questions and address any concerns."
Listeria, a common bacterium that can be either harmless or pathogenic, can enter a processing facility via raw produce or other materials, and form colonies. Thirty-three people in the United States and Canada fell ill in the outbreak from May 2015 to February 2016. All were hospitalized and four died, NBC News reported.
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Dole said on Jan. 22 it had temporarily suspended operations at the Springfield plant. It also issued recalls on all salad products packaged at the facility.