Cyclospora Outbreak in Illinois Growing Rapidly as Cyclospora Lawyers File Series of Lawsuits
Illinois has been facing a Cyclospora outbreak since May, part of an estimated 509 illnesses in 8 states, with Illinois alone accounting for, by the CDC’s numbers, 151 confirmed cases. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released its numbers showing at least 173 Cyclospora confirmed cases as of July 9, 2020.
This extremely high number of cases in Illinois has now been attributed to Fresh Express of Streamwood, Illinois, the production facility of the bagged salad product that caused the Cyclospora outbreak. Fresh Express has since recalled a total of 91 products that either contain the contaminated iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots, or products that came into close contact with the ingredients. This same Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, Illinois, previously faced a similar outbreak of Cyclospora in 2018 due to chopped salad kits. In that outbreak, a number of cyclospora lawsuits were also filed.
The 2018 Cyclospora outbreak occurred when Fresh Express distributed a lettuce and carrot mixture containing the parasite Cyclospora to the popular fast food chain restaurant McDonalds. A confirmed 511 illnesses, 24 hospitalizations, and zero deaths, occurred in 15 different states and New York City during the outbreak of 2018. The FDA confirmed the Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, Illinois, was responsible for the Cyclospora outbreak after testing an unopened bag of romaine lettuce and carrot mixture from the lot of question and found the same strain of Cyclospora present. No cause was found for the official source of contamination and McDonalds reportedly changed their supplier from Fresh Express to a different producer. Numerous cyclospora lawsuits were filed in that outbreak as well.
Fresh Express of Streamwood, Illinois, also had an E. Coli outbreak in 2019 due to contaminated chopped salad kits, causing 10 reported cases in the United States and 28 reported cases in Canada. Producers, such as Fresh Express, have a responsibility for the public’s health and safety to follow proper food safety protocol and prevent these large outbreaks from occurring. The FDA, CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), are currently working together to investigate the Streamwood, Illinois, facility of Fresh Express to both determine the source of the outbreak and whether proper precautions are being taken by the company during production and manufacturing.