More Than 500 Illnesses Linked To Bagged Salads Contaminated With Cyclospora

Federal health officials indicate that a multistate outbreak of food poisoning linked to Fresh Express bagged salads has sickened more than 500 people nationwide.

In a Cyclospora outbreak update issued earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates there have been at least 506 illnesses linked to bagged salad products recalled in recent months, including cases in at least 8 states. Officials indicate that at least 33 of the food poisoning injuries resulted in the need for hospitalization, but no deaths have been reported to date.

Investigators linked the multistate outbreak to bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express. The mix is sold under Fresh Express brand and private label store products produced at the Streamwood, IL facility.

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Fresh Express issued a recall for the salad mix on June 26, impacting products sold many states under brand name Fresh Express or store brand labels, including ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, and Walmart Marketside.

Cyclospora food poisoning incidents have been reported in eight Midwestern states including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Illnesses began on dates ranging from May 11, 2020, to July 1, 2020. However, it can take an average of 4 to 6 weeks before a person comes ill. People sickened by the outbreak range in age from 11 to 92 years with an average age of 60.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections occurring in three Canadian provinces to determine if they are connected to the Fresh Express recall.

The food poisoning illnesses were caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a single celled parasite, which results in severe intestinal infections. It can be spread through human waste and can lead to stomach cramps, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In some cases, the illness can become severe and lead to vomiting, fever and body aches. However, it is rarely deadly.

The infection can last for several days to a few months, often recurring after the patient seems better.

Consumers can identify recalled products by looking for the Product Code located in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the package. The recall includes products marked with the letter ā€œZā€ at the beginning of the Product Code, followed by the number 178 or lower.

Consumers should check their home to determine if they have the recalled product. If they do, they should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some has been eaten and no one has become ill. If you are unsure if one of the bagged salads you have in your home is one of the recalled salads, do not eat it and throw it away.

People who have experienced symptoms as a result of eating recalled salad should contact their doctor immediately.

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