Cyclospora in Salad: CDC and FDA Open Investigation on Bagged Salads Contamination
The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have opened an investigation on bagged salads contaminated with Cyclospora. It is believed that the bagged salads come from grocery store chains ALDI, Hy-vee, and Jewel-Osco. ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad from AlDI, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad from Hy-Vee, and Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad from Jewel-Osco have been traced as the likely source of the outbreak, though no official recalls have been made as of June 19, 2020. A total a 76 illnesses, 16 hospitalizations, and zero deaths have been reported due to the same strain of Cyclospora allegedly from the bagged salads. The illnesses began on May 11, 2020 with the last reported illness on June 14, 2020. Confirmed illnesses were reported in Iowa (28), Illinois (23), Kansas (1), Minnesota (10), Missouri (7), and Nebraska (7). Although no recalls have been issued as the FDA and CDC are in the beginning stages of the investigation, it is recommended that consumers do not buy or consume the bagged salads in question, particularly those in states with reported illnesses.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic parasite that causes the foodborne illness cyclosporiasis. Cyclosporiasis is most commonly passed through food and water that has become infected by coming into contact with infected feces. Although cleanliness and sanitizing is recommended to avoid the parasite, rinsing and washing contaminated food rarely removes the parasite. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis mirror common food poisoning symptoms because the parasite infects the small bowel. These symptoms typically begin after one week of ingesting the parasite and include watery and explosive diarrhea, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue. Some people infected with cyclospora report no symptoms, while others have reported relapses. Cyclosporiasis symptoms can last between a few days and a month or more if not treated. If you believe you are suffering from cyclosporiasis, contact your physician for treatment and testing. The FDA can be contacted for any reported illness relating to the outbreak at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366) by phone from 10AM- 4PM EST, except on Thursdays from 12:30PM- 1:30PM EST.