Illinois Among States Involved in Multi-State Outbreak of Cyclospora from Contaminated Salads Made by Fresh Express; May Also Be the Source of Infection

Fresh Express Example Product Code (Romaine Lettuce example/CDC/via Fresh Express
Fresh Express Example Product Code (SOURCE: Romaine Lettuce example/CDC/via Fresh Express).

Over 600 people have become infected by the parasite Cyclospora, suffering infections linked to salad mixes manufactured by Fresh Express. According to a release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were 641 cases reported Cyclospora infections in 11 states.

The alert regarding Fresh Express bagged salads was initially released on June 27, 2020. A Thursday July 23, 2020 update stated that the CDC reported on July 22, 2020 that there were 641 cases in 11 states. Most of the cases occurred in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. The states where illnesses were reported are Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.




The states where the salads were distributed include: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

The Fresh Express products were sold at supermarkets including ALDI, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel Osco, ShopRite and Walmart in 31 states and Washington, D.C.

The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners are continuing to investigate the multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora infections — potentially linked to salad products that were made by Fresh Express containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots and that were sold in several regions of the United States.

Symptoms of Cyclospora infections can include diarrhea, watery and explosive diarrhea, loss of appetite and nausea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illness causes by Cyclospora is known as Cyclosporiasis. The organism is known as Cyclospora cayetanensis, a pathogenic protozoan transmitted by feces or feces-contaminated food and water. Outbreaks have been reported to come from contaminated fruits and vegetables. Cyclospora is not spread from person to person, but can be the cause of travelers’ diarrhea.

Fresh Express Example Product Code (Romaine Lettuce example/CDC via Fresh Express
Fresh Express Example Product Code (SOURCE: Romaine Lettuce example/CDC via Fresh Express).

On June 27, 2020 Fresh Express recalled bagged salad mixes containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrots with a product code beginning with Z178 or a lower number. The “best buy” date on the products runs up through July 12, 2020 (there was some confusion that some products “best buy” dates might run up through July 14, 2020). Some of the recalled products were sold under the Fresh Express brand; others were sold as store brands.

Fresh Express is a Chiquita Brands International brand. According to Food Safety News, the Fresh Express processing plant in Streamwood, Illinois, is implicated in a Cyclospora outbreak for the second time in two years. Two years ago, the FDA confirmed the presence of the Cyclospora parasite in a lettuce and carrot mix distributed to McDonald’s from the Streamwood, Illinois Fresh Express facility at 1109 East Lake Street.

There are attorneys that specialize in compensation for Cyclospora infections from bagged salad packages.

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