On July 30, 2013, the states of Iowa and Nebraska announced that their analysis indicated that the outbreak of cyclosporiasis in those states was linked to a salad mix. In follow-up to that announcement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided an update on its investigation.
The FDA traceback investigation has confirmed that the salad mix identified by Iowa and Nebraska as being linked to the outbreak of cyclosporiasis in those states was supplied to restaurants in those states by Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., a processor of foodservice salads. The FDA traceback investigation found that illness clusters at restaurants were traced to a common supplier, Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. The restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska include Olive Garden and Red Lobster, both of which are owned by Darden Restaurants.
FDA’s investigation has not implicated consumer packages sold in grocery stores.
Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. has been cooperating with all FDA requests during the investigation. The FDA and the firm will be conducting an environmental assessment of the firm's processing facility in Mexico, to try to learn the probable cause of the outbreak and identify preventive controls to put in place to try and prevent a recurrence. The most recent inspection, in 2011, of the processing facility of Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. conducted by FDA found no notable issues. Additionally, as a result of the current investigation FDA is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the U.S. from Mexico.
Mexican food regulatory authorities, the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) and the National Agro-Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA), are also collaborating with FDA in the investigation of this outbreak.
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have announced that they believe the contaminated salad is no longer in the food supply in those states. The last date that someone reportedly became ill with cycloporiasis in Iowa was on July 1, and in Nebraska on July 2. The typical shelf life for a salad mix is up to 14 days.
It is not yet clear whether the cases reported from other states are all part of the same outbreak. The investigation of increased cases of cyclosporiasis in other states continues.
As of Aug. 5, 2013 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified of 466 cases of Cyclospora infection from the following 16 states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. Most of the illness onset dates have ranged from mid-June through early July. At least 27 persons reportedly have been hospitalized in five states.
Sources: FDA and CDC