July 17, 2018

Cyclospora Outbreak Sickened Scores of People in Iowa, Nebraska

A Cyclospora lawsuit was filed for food poisoning in 2013 when Iowa and Nebraska were hit by an outbreak of the parasite, which was linked by the FDA and CDC to salad mix from Mexico supplied to Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. The final analysis showed 227 people from those two Midwestern states afflicted by the contamination, which was preventable. The defective salad mix came from Mexico and five ranches in that country were ultimately inspected by the FDA in a fact-finding environmental assessment. The salad mix was produced by a processor of foodservice salads, Taylor Farms de Mexico.

Woman Stomach AcheFood safety lawyer Fred Pritzker and his firm, PritzkerOlsen Attorneys, represent more than 60 case patients of this outbreak and his team can be contacted for a free consultation on how affected individuals can pursue claims. Fred is leading a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who contracted a Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) after eating at the Olive Garden restaurant located at 367 Collins Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 5, 2013.  The lawsuit was filed against Darden Corporation, a Florida corporation, and Taylor Fresh Foods.

According to the lawsuit, about 7 days after eating at the Cedar Rapids Olive Garden, the Iowa woman began suffering diarrhea, fatigue and cramping. She continued to suffer from symptoms of cyclosporiasis over the next week.  She visited the emergency room three more times and was diagnosed with cyclosporiasis in early July. She was prescribed Bactrim to treat her infection but continued to suffer symptoms.

Public health officials in Iowa and Nebraska concluded that restaurant-associated cases of cyclosporiasis in their states were linked to salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico. The suspect bagged salad mix consisted of iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf, red cabbage, and carrots. With the exception of carrots, all of the components in the suspect salad mix were grown for Taylor Farms de Mexico on multiple ranches in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico.

As Mr. Pritzker’s legal team has expressed in litigation, humans are the only known reservoir of the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis, which causes intestinal infection and is endemic in many developing countries. The parasite is transmitted via ingestion of contaminated water or food. Direct person-to-person transmission is unlikely because the immature form of the parasite shed in the feces of an infected person must mature outside the host, in the environment, to become a threat to someone else.

Part of FDA’s report from the growing fields included a focus on hand-washing facilities for the workers. According to the report, the hand washing faucets observed on some portable sanitary facilities at the assessed ranches could create a potential for cross-contamination in that the employees must handle the valves before and after washing their hands to turn the water on and off. The Environmental Assessment team recommended that the firm establish procedures for better hand wash facilities to control, reduce and eliminate human pathogens from employee hands.

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