Kroger is recalling cilantro that has been linked to a Cyclospora outbreak from stores in 10 sates. The outbreak includes at least 218 people in Texas and Wisconsin and may include illnesses in other states.
Cyclospora causes an infection called cyclosporiasis which causes profuse, often explosive, diarrhea that can last up to two months. Other cyclosporiasis symptoms, which can also last more than 60 days, include abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, body aches, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms.
Federal health officials have traced the source of the outbreak to farms in the Puebla region of Mexico. But the distribution in the U.S. was so widespread that they could not identify a single supplier from whom to request a recall. That leaves it up to consumers and retailers to make the call.
Kroger has recalled cilantro bunches from stores in the Greater Memphis area, Tennessee; Arkansas; Mississippi; Western Kentucky; North Carolina; Virginia; Eastern West Virginia; Eastern Kentucky; Southeastern Ohio; Louisiana and Texas.
For the rest of the summer, the safest bet for consumers is to look for domestic sources of cilantro when shopping at grocery stores and to think carefully about ingredients in dishes when ordering out at restaurants.
Cyclospora is almost impossible to wash off and and can survive periods of freezing temperatures. Killing cyclospora with cold temperatures requires that it be frozen for at least 24 hours at temperatures lower than 24.8˚F. Cooking kills the parasite.