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Rare Bug Sickens 425, Officials Still Looking For Answers

The source of the cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska has been determined, but 14 other states await answers.

salad mix

Photo: wintersoul1 (Flickr)

The first cases of cyclospora reported in Iowa and Nebraska have been traced to salad mix provided by a Mexican farm.

In the wake of a rare stomach bug outbreak, some infected are suing while others are waiting for answers.

Stomach Bug

Cyclospora is a single-cell parasite that causes painful stomach and bowel issues, the effects of which can last sometimes into months. It is more common in tropical countries, and U.S. outbreaks have been traced to imported food.

Since the first infections in June, 425 people have reported infection in 16 states, with 24 of those landing in the hospital.

Infections have been reported in Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.

What Happened?

The first cases in Iowa and Nebraska have been traced to Taylor Farms in Mexico, the supplier for Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants’ salad mix.

But, consumers aren’t breathing easy just yet.

The FDA is still seeking the cause of illness in 14 other states, including Texas where Darden Restaurants, the parent of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, does not use Taylor Farms. The FDA is working to see if salad mixes ended up on consumer grocery shelves as well.

According to FDA spokesperson Theresa Eisenman says, tracing tainted food to its source is an intensive process:

In some situations, there can be hundreds of entities including wholesalers, brokers, distributors and retailers. In many cases, the records are not in electronic form and require extensive, time-consuming, manual data collection and review.

Suzanne Matteis of Dallas is suing Darden after suffering illness from consuming tainted salad at Olive Garden.

Read More:

  • Mystery Continues in Cyclospora Stomach Bug Outbreak (ABC News)
  • Why It’s Taking So Long to Find the Source of the Cyclospora Contamination (TIME)
  • CDC: 425 cases of cyclospora infection identified across 16 states (CBS News)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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