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The CDC and FDA announced their investigations into a Cyclospora outbreak linked to bagged salads containing carrots, red cabbage, and iceberg lettuce purchased at ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The CDC reports that 614 are confirmed sick, and 37 of these cases have been hospitalized. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced it is investigating 37 illnesses also linked to Fresh Express Salads – putting the outbreak numbers to 651 cases. For those of you who eat salads purchased from Aldi, Hy-Vee, Walmart, and Jewel-Osco, you may want to go check your fridge. Your salad mix may be involved in this Bagged Salads Cyclospora Outbreak.
The Bagged Salads Cyclospora Outbreak
According to the announcement:
“[We are] investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora illnesses potentially linked to ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad from ALDI grocery stores, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad from Hy-Vee grocery stores, and Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad from Jewel-Osco.
Although the investigation is ongoing, CDC’s analysis of epidemiologic information indicates that these bagged salads from ALDI, Hy-Vee, Walmart, and Jewel-Osco grocery stores are a likely cause of the illnesses. FDA has initiated a traceback investigation to determine supplier and distributor information to find the cause and source of the outbreak.”
On July 8, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced its collaboration with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Cyclospora infections occurring in three provinces.
According to their notice,
“Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to certain Fresh Express brand salad products containing iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage, has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Some of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten Fresh Express brand salad products containing these ingredients before their illnesses occurred. The source of illness for the remaining individuals continues to be under investigation. The investigation is ongoing and this public health notice will be updated as the investigation evolves.
On June 28, 2020, the CFIA issued a food recall warning for certain Fresh Express brand salad products containing iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage that were distributed nationally in Canada. The recalled salad products begin with lot code “Z177” or a lower number and have best before dates up to and including 20JUL08 – 20JUL14. For more information on the recalled product, please consult the CFIA’s website.”
As of July 8, 2020, there are 37 confirmed cases of Cyclospora illness linked to this outbreak in three provinces: Ontario (26), Quebec (10) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between mid-May and mid-June 2020. One individual has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 21 and 70 years of age. The majority of cases (76%) are female.
The investigation is ongoing.
So far, the FDA reports there are 614 confirmed cases in 11 states:
Case Counts: Georgia (1), Illinois (198), Iowa (195), Kansas (5), Minnesota (73), Missouri (57) Nebraska (55), North Dakota (6), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (13) and Wisconsin (36). The ill person from Georgia purchased and ate a bagged salad product while traveling in Missouri.
As with most outbreaks of this kind, it is likely that the outbreak statistics and states involved will rise. This is due to the time it takes for someone to get sick, seek medical attention, report their illness, and for that information to make it to the CDC, which can take several weeks.
When conducting interviews, the CDC noted that:
But even with these interviews, it is important to note that the bagged salad mixes from ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco do not explain all of the illnesses in this outbreak. It is likely that there are other brands, mixes, or stores involved, too. The CDC and FDA are continuing their investigation.
At this time, illness onsets appear to be from May 11, 2020 through July 1, 2020.
But again, these dates are likely to change as more cases are linked to the outbreak. Illnesses that started after July 1, 2020 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to July 1, 2020. Ill people range in age from 11 to 92 years with a median age of 60 and 53% are female. Of 506 people with available information, 33 people (7%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Here’s the latest from the CDC:
Recalls in this Bagged Salads Cyclospora Outbreak
All three grocery stores have announced recalls. Fresh Express appears to be the manufacturer of all three product lines linked to the outbreak. Traceback investigations by the FDA suggest that the Streamwood, Illinois Fresh Express production facility is the likely producer of the bagged salad mixes eaten by ill people. FDA has begun an inspection at this facility. CDC and FDA continue to investigate to determine which ingredient or ingredients in the salad mix was contaminated and whether other products are a source of illnesses.
Jewel-Osco recalled its Signature Farms Garden Salad from its Illinois, Indiana and Iowa locations. The recalled bagged salads were sold in 12-ounce bags in the grocery store’s produce department and stated they would best if used by May 16 through July 4, Jewel-Osco explained. The product had a UPC code of 21130 98135 and a plant number of S5417.
According to Jewel- Osco’s recall notice on its website:
“In cooperation with the Fresh Express recall of bagged salads potentially linked to an outbreak of Cyclospora infections in the Midwest, Jewel-Osco is voluntarily recalling bagged Signature Farms Garden Salad sold in its stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.
The recalled Signature Farms Garden Salad was sold in 12-ounce bags in the Produce section. The recalled products have BEST IF USED BY dates of May 16 through July 4 (5-16-20 through 7-04-20). The BEST IF USED BY date is printed on the top right corner of the front of the package. The product has a UPC code of 21130 98135, which can be found on the back of the package and bears the unique plant number S5417.”
Hy-Vee’s announcement is similar:
“Hy-Vee, Inc., based in West Des Moines, Iowa, is recalling its 12 oz. Hy-Vee Bagged Garden Salad product across its eight-state region due to the potential that it may be contaminated with Cyclospora. The potential for contamination was brought to Hy-Vee’s attention when Fresh Express – which manufactures the product – announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) have been investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora in the upper Midwest section of the United States.
In their investigation, they have identified certain products linked to the outbreak – including Fresh Express’ private label products at retailers across the country that were impacted – including one for Hy-Vee. The recall is limited to 12 oz. Hy-Vee Bagged Garden Salad, all UPCs and expirations dates. The product was distributed to Hy-Vee grocery stores across its eight-state region of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. No other Hy-Vee food items are impacted by this recall.”
Aldi’s announcement includes:
“In Association with Fresh Express Inc., ALDI Voluntarily Recalls Little Salad Bar Garden Salad due to possible Cyclospora Infection…
The affected Little Salad Bar Garden Salad was sold in a 12 oz. bag, has a UPC code of 4099100082975 and have Best If Used By dates of May 1 through June 29. Upon notification from the supplier, and in order to be proactive regarding customers’ health, ALDI immediately removed the affected products from stores in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.”
The CDC recommends:
Salad at Home?
Curious of the salad you have at home is part of the outbreak? You can identify the recalled products by looking for the Product Code, located in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the package.
|Company||Size||Best If Used By||UPC Code||Retailers*||Distribution*|
|Hy-Vee||12-ounce||Hy-Vee||IA, IL, MO, KS, NE, SD, MN, WI|
|Jewel-Osco||12-ounce||5/16/20 – 7/4/20||21130 98135||Jewel-Osco||IL, IN, IA|
|ALDI||12-ounce||5/1/20-6/29/20||4099100082975||ALDI||AR, IL, IN, IA, M|
Here are some helpful product photos to help you check:
For more photos and product additions to this outbreak, you can visit the FDA’s page here.
CDC is working to determine if other recent cases of Cyclospora infection are linked to contaminated ingredients in these bagged salad mixes.
Cyclospora is a parasite. It needs a host to complete its life cycle. Once the parasite has found its way into your gut, it can grow to maturity and release its oocysts — tiny, hardened capsules that are akin to eggs. They then pass out of the body in feces, at which point they wait to be ingested so that the cycle can continue. So far, the only confirmed hosts for cyclospora are human beings. That means you need to ingest human feces, or water or produce that’s been contaminated with human feces, in order to contract the parasite.
Cyclospora needs about a week after it’s been passed out of the body in feces in order to become infectious. If you are infected with cyclospora, it usually takes about a week for symptoms to appear. Here’s what the CDC has to say about what you can expect once you’ve been infected: “watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms may be noted. Some people who are infected with Cyclospora do not have any symptoms.”
Does Cyclospora go away on its own?
That is a tricky question. The general answer is that it can, but the concern runs into how long one is sick. For example, those who have prolonged illnesses tend to see a cycle where they get better for a bit and get sick again. This is because you essentially are “reinfecting” yourself as the parasite lives its life cycle. Because illnesses can last weeks – or even months – medical attention is recommended to help kill the parasite.
How long does Cyclospora last?
As mentioned above, that depends on if it gets treated. Some illnesses can last a few weeks, others can last months.
How is Cyclosporasis treated?
Most physicians treat Cyclospora infections with antibiotics. Many doctors treat Cyclospora with the antibiotics trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known by their brand names, Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. People experiencing diarrhea should also rest and drink plenty of fluids.
If you are allergic to sulfa drugs, the CDC recommends that you see your doctor to discuss other potential treatments.
What happens if Cyclospora goes untreated?
It can lead to complications. Although Cyclosporiasis usually is not life threatening, some more severe cases have reported complications during and after the infection. These complications include: malabsorption (inability for intestines to absorb nutrients), ongoing bowel issues, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), and Reiter’s Syndrome or Reactive Arthritis (inflammation and pain in joints). Those who are elderly, very young, or have compromised immune systems are the most likely to develop reoccurrence of the infection and/or complications.
What food is Cyclospora usually found in?
In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of Cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as raspberries, basil, snow peas, mesclun lettuce, and cilantro; no commercially frozen or canned produce has been implicated to date.
How do I know if I have Cyclospora?
According to the CDC, it usually takes about one week for symptoms to develop. Cyclosporiasis causes watery diarrhea. Frequent, and sometimes explosive, bowel movements are common. People may also experience lack of appetite, weight loss, stomach pain or cramps, increased gas, bloating, nausea, or fatigue. Vomiting, headaches, fever, body aches, and flu-like symptoms have also been reported. People often report feeling unusually tired.
Once I get Cyclospora, can I get it again?
Yes. Cyclospora is a parasite, not a virus. The body does not retain any immunity to the parasite, so having been infected before does not provide any protection for future infection.
The Lange Law Firm
Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water. When corporations cause Cyclospora food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm, PLLC is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.
If you or your child was infected with Cyclospora or any other parasite and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we have a Cyclospora lawyer ready to help you. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.
By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor