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FDA Updates Recent Pre-Washed Salad Scare

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

22 states have reported illnesses, possibly due to contamination of pre-washed salad greens.

The recent multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora illnesses has many consumers concerned about their salad greens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is continuing to investigate this situation, and released the following statement:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora infections. We are moving quickly to learn as much as possible and prevent additional people from becoming ill. We recognize that people will be concerned about this outbreak, and we will continue to provide updates and advice.

The update that went along with this statement touched on several questions.

What States Are Affected?

According to the FDA report, the FDA, CDC, and state and local officials are investigating the multi-state outbreak. Health departments have reported Cyclospora infections from the following states as of August 20:

Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York (including New York City), Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Are All Cases from the Same Outbreak?

Whether or not all 598 cases are from the same infection strain has not been determined. However, it has been determined that some of the cases have been linked to a salad mix. Following that determination being made in Iowa and Nebraska, Taylor Farms de Mexico voluntarily suspended production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the U.S. They will not begin shipping again without the FDAs approval, the FDA confirmed.

How Long Should Consumers Be Concerned?

The typical shelf life for salad mix is 14 days. The last date someone was reported to have become ill with cycloporiasis in Iowa was July 1 and in Nebraska July 2. Both the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that they no longer believe the contaminated salad is in their states’ food supply.

The FDA continues to work with its federal, state and local partners in in this investigation. Read more about this investigation and about this illness on the FDA website.

Image: Wikimedia Commons