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DeLauro Calls on FDA to Shut Down Dole Plant Linked to Listeria Outbreak

May 6, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (May 6, 2016) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to demand that the agency shut down a Dole plant in Springfield, Ohio that is the source of a Listeria outbreak that killed four people and sickened dozens more. DeLauro notes that in addition to executives continuing to distribute contaminated salads despite knowing about the presence of Listeria, the plant has had numerous other public health violations that have endangered consumers.

“Given that consumers have been severely sickened, and even killed, by salads produced at this facility, I urge you to immediately shut down the Dole Springfield plant. Their blatant disregard for the health and safety of American families shows that Dole executives put company profits first, at the expense of consumers, and this type of behavior should not be tolerated,” wrote DeLauro.

“The fact that Dole officials were aware of a food borne illness contamination in their facility, yet continued to ship out the product, is absolutely unconscionable. People have died, and rightfully the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Dole’s Springfield plant,” continued DeLauro. “However, it is more than just foodborne pathogens that the FDA inspection reports point to. FDA reports dating back to March 2014 cite at least sixteen problems that could contribute to food safety issues in the facility.”

“It is an outrage that people had to die in order for Dole to temporarily close this plant for four months during the January Listeria outbreak,” concluded DeLauro. “I urge you to immediately shut down Dole’s Springfield facility in order to put a stop to future outbreaks from this facility. Dole must be held accountable.”

The sixteen issues listed in the FDA reports include: failure to provide adequate screening or other protection against pests; failure to maintain food contact surfaces to protect food from contamination by any source; and gaps in building maintenance such as peeling paint and rust, and cracks and holes in the floors.

Last week, DeLauro demanded that Dole answer for continuing to distribute contaminated salads for more than a year and a half after knowing that the plant had a Listeria contamination. In January, she questioned why it took the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration so long to identify the source of the outbreak linked to Dole.

DeLauro is a senior member on the subcommittee responsible for funding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is overseeing the investigation of Dole.

The full letter is available here.