In September and early October, at least 17 people became sick in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area after eating three kinds of Dole bagged lettuce that were contaminated with E. coli, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Five lawsuits filed in response to the outbreak have been settled, according to The Monterey Herald.
All of the people were infected with E. coli 0157:H7, the most dangerous strain of the bacteria, which can cause stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. In the most serious cases, the bacteria can lead to a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause kidney failure and death.
Although they have settled the lawsuits, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables Eric Schwartz says that the company is not admitting any guilt. They claim to not have a definitive source of the contamination of the lettuce.
Because the bagged salads were distributed nationwide, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to consumers against eating the specific Dole products.
A new comprehensive best-practices guide was released in March for growers, processors, retailers and everyone in between who handles fresh-cut produce to the development of a research agenda to provide functional, actionable information.