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Bagged Salad Mix Implicated in Cyclospora Outbreak

The Cyclospora outbreak that has sickened at least 373 people in 15 states in June is believed to have been caused by a now-expired, prepackaged salad mix, Iowa’s top food inspector said on Tuesday.

“The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska,” said Steven Mandernach, Chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. “Iowans should continue eating salads as the implicated prepackaged mix is no longer in the state’s food supply chain.”

Iowa gave no word on the brand involved or where the salad came from.

The investigation found a connection to the salad mix in 80 percent of case patients.

Nebraska state epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek told Food Safety News that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hosted conference calls on the investigation three times a week that involve nearly 90 personnel from affected states.

Safranek said the common source was “most certainly” pre-washed, bagged salad mix, and it’s highly likely that there’s a common distributor in Iowa and Nebraska. However, it’s still “too early” to name the restaurants and grocery stores involved.

Federal investigators are hoping to obtain enough information from states to perform a complete traceback of the salad mix.

Food Safety News will continue updating this story as it develops.

© Food Safety News
  • farmber

    Real Cute — treating Industrial Food purveyors with kid gloves — while even single small farms that are merely Suspected get the full public outing treatment, often erroneously…

    from the Des Moines Register:

    “Mandernach said in an interview that some people ate the salads at home or at private functions, while others ate the salads at restaurants. He would not identify any of the businesses involved. “Typically, we release the information if it enhances public safety,” he said. The product is no longer on shelves, he said. Also, he said, the manufacturer is not a brand that many people would recognize, and the product could have been sold under other brands. Mandernach said more than one restaurant company served the salads, though he wouldn’t identify those companies either.

    Until today, authorities had only said that they thought the outbreak was due to some type of vegetable that had been contaminated. Mandernach said state investigators were unable to single out which ingredient was contaminated with the parasite, or which state or country that vegetable came from. He said federal investigators are looking into those questions.”

  • cnico

    It would be nice if you mentioned the symptoms of cyclospora ingestion.

  • Joepalooka1

    responsible work in sourcing the origin and in follow up. The misinformed will no longer blame those in the restaurants (“why don’t they wear gloves:-)”

    • Dianna

      I worked in the Restaurant Biz for 15 years. The problem is not whether they are wearing gloves, the issue is about washing the produce properly. A parasite is not from human to human as one would think. They are either from a water source or from the dirt where the plant was grown. Hence organic items where often times cow manure is used as a natural fertilizer opposed to harsh chemical sprays. Darned if you do and darned if you don’t, right? Meanwhile, we have all trusted these bagged salad companies when it says” “Triple Washed”. Hmmm….are we sure about that? So the lesson here is to wash the lettuce even if the bag says it has been washed. I have all the symptoms, but my test results haven’t come back yet. If it is a parasite, it’s a nasty little microscopic bug that drains all of my energy from day to day. Either way, I will be washing salad mix regardless if the package says it’s washed. How do we protect ourselves from this? Well, we are around germs all the time. They will never go away, so there will always be something getting in our food. It’s just the natural cycle of life. The local farmers and food processors are not to blame here. We should be fighting for our local farmers instead of entrusting our food source from big corporations that import produce from who knows where??

  • Wisernow

    Obtained my three week illness ingesting bag salad from the food shelf where the out of date bags end up! Free? Not so much

    • Katmandu

      The problem with identifying the brand is, these packers pack under several labels so the “brand” doesn’t mean much. This particular “bug” is only hosted in human waist so the region the product came from is more relevant. Countries with poor controls and handling of sewage are much more likely to get this in their irrigation water.

  • da

    80% usage not conclusive? tell the source. any future exposures should sue agencies for with holding information and not protecting the public. manufacturers are required to recall within 24 hrs. all receiving/ shipments for suppliers and customers. it’s been 14+ days and counting.

  • CityGirl

    Would appreciate knowing not only the brand, but how certain are they that it is a brand many wouldn’t recognize?

  • MinnesotaMinnie

    Consumers deserve to know the brand names of the prepared salads and where they were sold
    as well as the specific dates they were sold. To not release this information is very suspicious and dangerous.

  • dave

    The refusal to ID the source of cyclospora prevents normal market forces from punishing those who took chances with food safety and encouraging preventive action, Not the restaurants but the producer. If contamination was due to irrigation by contaminated wastewater the rationale
    that it was a point source one time contamination might also be incorrect.

  • dakruizer

    There has been no “official” notification of this at the present time, correct?

  • SickThanksToThisIdiot

    Thanks to this idiot, my mom and I have this. Ive been suffering since last night while she’s been suffering throwing up for 4 days so far. Looked at one of the comments; good to know I could have this for 3 weeks….

  • Patti

    Just thought I would let you know I am from Angola Indiana and eat bag lettuce Romaine mix and was very sick at the end of June for 2 weeks. Did go to doctor and he gave me antibiotic because of puss in my urine also. But thought it was flu and second week when I started vomiting again he thought it was food poisoning! Don’t know but ate a salad for lunch today and stomach feels nausea! It makes me wonder! Never been that sick before!