September 15, 2019

FDA: Cyclospora Outbreaks Over, Food Source in Most States Unknown

The Cyclospora outbreaks are over, but the food source that caused the illnesses in all but three states remains a mystery, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The outbreaks sickened 643 people in 25 states but they did not all have a common food source. One hundred and twenty six people in 22 states don’t know what they ate that made them sick.

CilantroHealth authorities identified the food source for some of the 278 cases in Texas as cilantro imported from Mexico and for all of the 153 cases in Iowa and 86 cases in Nebraska as bagged salad mix with greens made from ingredients that were also imported from Mexico.

In all three states, the contaminated produce was served at restaurants.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not released the names of Texas restaurants and did not initially release the names of the restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska when a link was established to them in late July.  Food safety advocates cried foul and several days later the agency revealed that the bagged salad mix had been served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.

Cyclospora-ImageThe supplier of the bagged salad mix, Taylor Farms de Mexico, did not supply the cilantro to the unnamed Texas restaurants and grocery store that have been linked to Cyclospora illnesses. The name of the supplier or suppliers in Texas has also been withheld. The FDA’s update says the agency “is working with Mexican authorities to determine if there is a common farm or growing area in Puebla, Mexico, which could have provided fresh cilantro to the three restaurants and the grocery store associated with the clusters of ill persons in Texas.”

 

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