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Cyclospora Outbreak Linked to Taylor Farms Salad, Some Served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster

The outbreak of Cyclospora in Iowa and Nebraska that has caused hundreds of confirmed illnesses has been linked to Mexican-grown Taylor Farms salad mix, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some of the contaminated salad mix was served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, according to the Des Moines Register. Other restaurants may also have used the salad mix.

It is not yet clear if concurrent Cyclospora outbreaks in other states are also connected to the Taylor Farms salad mix or the restaurant chains. At least 418 people across 16 states have been found ill with Cyclospora infection between early June and early July.

No grocery store products have yet been connected to the outbreak, as it is considered exclusively restaurant salad at this point.

Taylor Farms is cooperating with FDA investigators who are trying to determine the cause of the contamination at their facilities in Mexico. FDA said that as a result of this outbreak, “FDA is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico.”

Investigators believe the product has expired and is no longer on the market, and therefore does not pose a continued health threat.

According to internet searches, there are nine Olive Gardens in Iowa and four in Nebraska. There are eight Red Lobsters in Iowa and two in Nebraska.

Cyclospora is a single-celled parasite often associated with contaminated fresh produce. Symptoms can take several days or weeks to appear and include watery diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, nausea and stomach cramps.

© Food Safety News
  • Husn_a

    The following articles are an interesting read from a scientific perspective.

    Farber, J.N., Harris, L.J., Parish, M.E., Beuchat, L.R., Suslow, T.V., Gorney, J.R., Garrett, E.H. and Busta, F.F. (2003), Microbiological Safety of Controlled and Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2: 142–160. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4337.2003.tb00032.x

    Harris, L.J., Farber, J.N., Beuchat, L.R., Parish, M.E., Suslow, T.V., Garrett, E.H. and Busta, F.F. (2003), Outbreaks Associated with Fresh Produce: Incidence, Growth, and Survival of Pathogens in Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2: 78–141. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4337.2003.tb00031.x

  • Vi Laytway

    A very good friend of mine has a child that is still sick from this stuff. They were in Kansas when the child became sick. It is so terrible and the father of the baby is I’ll also!

  • J T

    The cause of the outbreak is the people who work at the mexican facilities. Mexico is a 3rd world country, lacking proper sewage and fresh water systems. Even if the packing facility gets good grades on that one day the auditor is there, he is not seeing the squalid conditions that the workers go home to at the end of the day. Intestinal illnesses run rampant in that country, especially among the low-wage laborers who work these sorts of jobs. Why do you think they tell us to not drink the water over there? Guess what… they are washing their salad with that same water! All it takes is one slip-up in their chlorination system, or one supervisor to look the other way when the sanitizer readings are out of whack, and all of a sudden all it takes is one single employee to contaminate the entire washing system. At least here in the US, you can assume that our employees go home to a place that has clean running water and functioning waste collection systems. There is far less worry that farm workers in this country are going to catch a nasty bug at home and then bring it work with them. All the more reason to buy American when it’s in season. The greedy companies that buy from mexico instead of USA deserve as much of the blame as the grower/packer does.

    • Irasema Sauceda

      Your perspective is not the real one. Mexican workers are under more restricted hygiene policies at farms or facility because a dumping issue, however it is good for mexican facilities, because it determines that products are more supervised than USA products by far.. I am food safety auditor, and i have been auditing companies at several countries, including USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and others, and USA products are the less supervised and restricted under food safety policies. You should read the outbreak for melons with lysteria. All of them came from USA FARMS.. it is not a country issue, is a system that should reduce risks to consumers, but it can not completely eliminate these.


      • J T

        I am well aware of the LISTERIA outbreak from melons. If you are truly an auditor, I highly recommend you learn how to spell the assorted pathogens of concern. Of course, every country will have individual bad actors who are not following the rules. The difference is that it isn’t systemic in the USA like it is in Mexico. Mexico has occasional listeria problems like the USA, but mexico also has systemic ever-present risk of fecal-contaminated products, due to their incomplete or deteriorated water/waste management systems. Saying that USA products are less supervised than mexican products is absurd. Maybe on that ONE day you audit a mexican facility, they have extra “supervisors” on hand to remind their workers to wash their hands and check the sanitizer levels. They can afford to do this on that one day, since they are essentially paying slave wages. Anti-dumping has nothing to do with hygiene. I do self audits at a large grower/packer/shipper, and my company has been audited by numerous auditors(3rd party, government, buyers); Some of them know what they are talking about, but literally about half of them have minimal agriculture experience and are just paperwork jockies who really don’t know the proper things to watch out for.