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.
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.