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Prepackaged Salad Mixture Contaminated


A salad mixture is causing an outbreak of flu-like symptoms in many residents of Iowa and Nebraska

Pre-packaged salad mixtures are leaving many sick with flu-like symptoms, primarily in Nebraska and Iowa.

Feeling a little queasy after that salad? Well you’re not alone. Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska have found a prepackaged salad mix that has led to an outbreak of cyclospora, leaving hundreds ill, according to The Huffington Post.

Cyclospora is a parasite that typically causes gastrointestinal issues and flu-like symptoms, and so far 78 people in Nebraska and 145 people in Iowa have been affected. They still aren’t positive if all of the cases are linked to the same source of the salad mix.

The salad mix that seems to be the culprit is a romaine and iceberg lettuce mixture with carrots and red cabbage, but a brand has not been specified. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration are still working to figure out what brand is the one causing issues, but what is known is that most cases have been linked to these store-bought pre-mixed salads. Steven Mandernach, one of Iowa’s top food-safety inspectors, has said that the parasite may have spread through contaminated water onto farm fields.

News and health officials are urging people to rinse lettuce even if it says it’s already been washed to avoid any chances of coming into contact with the parasite, which is a good rule of thumb in general.


Prepackaged salad mix tied to parasite outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska

Iowa and Nebraska health officials said Tuesday that a prepackaged salad mix is the source of a cyclospora outbreak that sickened more than 178 people in both states.

Cyclospora is a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness. Outbreaks of the same illness have been reported elsewhere in the U.S., but it's not clear that illnesses in any other states are linked to prepackaged salad mix. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's not clear whether all of the illnesses are linked to a single source.

Nebraska officials said the salad mix included iceberg and romaine lettuce, along with red cabbage and carrots, and came through national distribution chains. A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the agency was still trying to identify the specific brand or brands.

Local health departments are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify exactly where the contamination originated in the food production chain and where the product was distributed.

The Centers for Disease Control says 372 cases of the cyclospora infection, which causes diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms, have been reported in 15 states: Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio.

The CDC said at least 21 people have been hospitalized and most of the reported illnesses occurred from mid-June to early July. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the cyclospora infections but have not yet pointed to a source.

"CDC is still actively pursuing all leads and hasn't implicated any single food item as the cause of the outbreak in all states," said CDC spokeswoman Sharon Hoskins. "We're still not sure if the cases in all of the states are linked to the same outbreak."

Hoskins said that in some previous outbreaks of cyclospora, the cause was never discovered.

The FDA said Tuesday that it is following Iowa's lead on the salad mix but is following other leads as well. An agency statement said investigators are trying to trace the paths of the food eaten by those who fell ill. That process is "labor intensive and painstaking work, requiring the collection, review and analysis of hundreds and at times thousands of invoices and shipping documents," the FDA said.

The agency said it has a seven person team in its Maryland headquarters and specialists in 10 field offices across the country working to identify the source of the outbreak.

Cyclospora illnesses are spread when people ingest foods or water contaminated with feces. The illnesses are most often found in tropical or subtropical countries and have been linked to imported fresh fruits and vegetables in the past.

In Texas, public health officials have received 122 reports of the illness but have not yet found a link. The state issued an advisory that urged health care providers to test patients if they show symptoms of the infection, said Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.


They Lack the Good Stuff

Most of the prepackaged salads might be two weeks old. Their taste has changed with time and also most of the health benefits they contain have been lost even before we eat them. It’s better to pick lettuce right from the store, rinse and dry them yourself.

You should also rip it into bite-sized pieces before storing to increase the antioxidant activity. If possible, consume it within two days of storing or you can eat them immediately you buy them from the store. Either way, you’re sure you aren’t eating lettuces that have been sitting in some shelves for over two weeks.


Bagged salad contaminated with parasite sickens 122 people in 7 states

A recalled bagged salad distributed to a dozen Midwestern states by grocery stores has sickened 122 people in seven states and sent 19 to the hospital, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The salad distributed by Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco and Aldi grocery stores is contaminated with cyclospora, a parasite that can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue.

The salad mix containing carrots, red cabbage, and iceberg lettuce is packaged as Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salads, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Brand Garden Salads and ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salads. All have been recalled and consumers are advised not to eat them.

The CDC said the highest number of illnesses is reported in Iowa with 54. Illinois has 30. Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin also have reported illnesses, which were first reported on May 11 and have been as recent as June 15.

The salads were sold in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The CDC said it continues to investigate and is working to determine if other recent cases of cyclospora infection are linked to contaminated ingredients in these bagged salad mixes.

First published on June 24, 2020 / 6:18 AM

© 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Packaged Salads Produced at Springfield, Ohio Dole Processing Facility (Final Update)

This outbreak appears to be over. However, Listeria remains an important cause of serious, life-threatening human illness in the United States. For more information about Listeria and steps that people can take to reduce their risk of infection, visit CDC&rsquos Listeria webpage.

  • This outbreak appears to be over. However, Listeria remains an important cause of serious, life-threatening human illness in the United States. For more information about Listeria and steps that people can take to reduce their risk of infection, visit CDC&rsquos Listeria webpage.
  • CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration External (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis).
    • A total of 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria were reported from nine states.
    • All 19 people were hospitalized, and one person from Michigan died as a result of listeriosis. One illness was reported in a pregnant woman.
    • Whole genome sequencing (WGS) performed on Listeria isolates from all 19 ill people showed that the isolates were closely related genetically.
    • WGS performed on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates were closely related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States.
    Introduction

    CDC collaborated with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration External (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis). Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

    Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may have been part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA &ldquofingerprinting&rdquo is performed on Listeria bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE.

    A total of 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria were reported from nine states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

    Listeria specimens were collected from July 5, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age was 64. Of ill people, 74% were female. All 19 (100%) ill people were reported as hospitalized, and 1 person from Michigan died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman. WGS was performed on Listeria isolates from all 19 ill people and showed that the isolates were closely related genetically. This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak were more likely to share a common source of infection, such as a contaminated food.

    According to the Public Health Agency of Canada External , ill people in Canada were infected with the same outbreak strain of Listeria. Whole genome sequencing of clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates were closely related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States.

    Investigation of the Outbreak

    Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and sold under various brand names were the likely source of this outbreak.

    State and local health departments interviewed ill people about the foods they may have eaten or other exposures in the month before their illness began. Of 14 ill people who were asked about packaged salad, 13 (93%) reported eating a packaged salad. All of the 9 ill people who specified the brand of packaged salad eaten reported various kinds of Dole brand packaged salad.

    As part of a routine product sampling program, the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad from a retail location and isolated Listeria. This packaged salad was produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility. In January 2016, WGS showed that the Listeria isolate from the packaged salad was closely related genetically to isolates from ill people. This information helped link the illnesses to Dole brand packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the presence of Listeria in packaged salads produced at the Dole Springfield, Ohio processing facility.

    On January 21, 2016, Dole reported to CDC that it had stopped production at the processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and withdrew packaged salads from this facility that were on the market at that time. On January 27, 2016, Dole voluntarily recalled External all salad mixes produced in the Springfield, Ohio processing facility. The recall included several brands and varieties of salad mixes that were distributed throughout the United States and in Eastern Canada. The type of salad mixes produced at this facility were packaged in bags and plastic clamshell containers and were identified by the letter &ldquoA&rdquo at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package. Any recalled salad mixes still on the market or in consumers&rsquo homes would be past their expiration dates.

    This outbreak appears to be over. More information about what to do with recalled fruits and vegetables is available on the Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers page.

    Case Count Update

    Since the last update on January 28, three more ill people have been reported from Missouri (1) and Ohio (2).

    Eighteen people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from nine states since July 5, 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Ohio (2), and Pennsylvania (1). Whole genome sequencing has been performed on clinical isolates from all ill people and has shown that the isolates are highly related genetically.

    Listeria specimens were collected from ill people between July 5, 2015 and January 31, 2016. Ill people range in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age is 66. Seventy-two percent of ill people are female. All 18 (100%) ill people were hospitalized, including one person from Michigan who died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman.

    Case Count Update

    Since the last update on January 22, three more ill people have been reported from Connecticut, Missouri, and New York.

    Fifteen people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from eight states since July 5, 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Connecticut (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (5), and Pennsylvania (1). Whole genome sequencing has been performed on clinical isolates from all ill people and has shown that the isolates are highly related genetically.

    Listeria specimens were collected from ill people between July 5, 2015 and January 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age is 64. Seventy-three percent of ill people are female. All 15 (100%) ill people were hospitalized, including one person from Michigan who died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman.

    Investigation Update

    State and local health departments and federal investigators continue to interview ill people about the foods they may have eaten or other exposures in the month before their illness began. Of eight ill people who were asked about packaged salad, all eight (100%) reported eating a packaged salad. Four (100%) of four ill people who were able to specify the brands of packaged salad they ate reported various kinds of Dole brand packaged salad.

    On January 27, 2016, Dole External voluntarily recalled all salad mixes produced in the Springfield, Ohio processing facility. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any products produced at other Dole processing facilities in the United States are linked to illness. The type of salad mixes produced at this facility were packaged in bags and plastic clamshell containers and can be identified by the letter &ldquoA&rdquo at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package.

    According to the Public Health Agency of Canada External , there are seven people in five Canadian provinces infected with the same outbreak strain of Listeria. Laboratory tests performed to date on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates are highly related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States. Packaged salads produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility were distributed in Eastern Canada and the United States. Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the presence of Listeria in packaged salads produced at the Dole Springfield, Ohio processing facility.

    CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them. Updates will be provided when more information is available.

    Initial Announcement

    Since September 2015, CDC has been collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration External (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis). Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

    Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA &ldquofingerprinting&rdquo is performed on Listeria bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE.

    Twelve people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from six states since July 5, 2015. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (4), New Jersey (1), New York (4), and Pennsylvania (1). WGS has been performed on clinical isolates from all 12 ill people and has shown that the isolates are highly related genetically.

    Listeria specimens were collected from July 5, 2015 to December 23, 2015. Ill people range in age from 3 years to 83, and the median age is 66. Sixty-nine percent of ill people are female. All 12 (100%) ill people reported being hospitalized, including one person from Michigan who died as a result of listeriosis. One of the illnesses reported was in a pregnant woman.

    The outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who were diagnosed each week. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve.

    Investigation of the Outbreak

    Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and sold under various brand names are the likely source of this outbreak.

    State and local health departments are interviewing ill people about the foods they may have eaten or other exposures in the month before their illness began. Of five ill people who were asked about packaged salad, all five (100%) reported eating a packaged salad. Two (100%) of two ill people who specified the brand of packaged salad eaten reported various varieties of Dole brand packaged salad.

    As part of a routine product sampling program, the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected a Dole brand Field Greens packaged salad from a retail location and isolated Listeria. This packaged salad was produced at the Springfield, Ohio Dole processing facility. In January 2016, WGS showed that the Listeria isolate from the packaged salad was highly related genetically to isolates from ill people. This information linked the illnesses to Dole brand packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.

    On January 21, 2016, Dole External reported to CDC that it had stopped production at the processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. The company also reported that it is withdrawing packaged salads currently on the market that were produced at this facility. The withdrawal does not affect other Dole products.

    CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, restaurants do not serve, and retailers do not sell packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. These packaged salads were sold under various brand names, including Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President&rsquos Choice Organics. The packaged salads can be identified by the letter &ldquoA&rdquo at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that packaged salads produced at other Dole processing facilities in the United States are linked to illness.

    CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them. Updates will be provided when more information is available.


    Oldest Produce Had Most Bacteria

    Consumer Reports investigators sampled 208 packaged salads, representing 16 brands purchased last summer in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. The salads were sold in either bags or plastic clamshell containers.

    Continued

    They found that 39% of the samples contained more than 10,000 "most probable number" per gram -- a measure of total coliforms, which are bacteria associated with fecal contamination. And 23% had more than 10,000 colony forming units (CFU) per gram of the bacterium enterococcus.

    According to the report, experts contacted by Consumer Reports considered these levels unacceptable.

    Bacteria levels varied widely, with some samples containing undetectable levels and others containing more than 1 million CFUs per gram, Hansen says.

    • Packaged produce tested at least six days from their use-by date tended to have lower levels of the bacteria than produce tested within five days of the use-by date.
    • Salad mixes that included spinach tended to have higher bacteria levels than those without spinach.
    • Contamination levels were similar whether the produce was packaged in a bag or clamshell container. And samples labeled "organic" were just as likely to have high levels of the bacteria as other samples.
    • Little difference was seen in bacteria levels between larger, nationally distributed brands and smaller, regional brands. All brands with more than four samples had at least one package with relatively high levels of total coliforms or enterococcus.

    Continued

    Hansen says consumers should look for products that are at least six days from their use-by date when buying packaged salad products.

    And products labeled "prewashed" or "triple-washed" should be washed again, even though this probably won't remove all bacteria, he says.

    The report was made public online this week and it appears in the March issue of Consumer Reports.


    Contaminated salad mix leaves over 200 people across 8 states sick with infection, recalled after CDC warning

    (Getty Images)

    A contaminated salad mix sold in markets across eight states could have left more than 200 people infected and over 23 hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency recommends that people avoid purchasing the product, which is sold under various brand names at ALDI, HY-Vee, Jewel-Osco, and Walmart.

    The culprit behind the infection is cyclospora, a parasite that causes intestinal diseases - mainly diarrhea. Other signs of the food-borne disease include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms. If untreated, the symptoms can last from a few days to a month or longer. Some patients, however, do not fall sick.

    The warning comes after the heath agency interviewed infected patients. Current evidence seems to suggest that the parasite emerged from the contaminated product. "Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak," the CDC said. They, however, are not ruling out the possibility that other sources could be involved.

    Fresh Express issued a voluntary recall on Saturday of dozens of branded and private label salad products produced at the facility that "contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and/or carrot ingredients."

    The CDC and the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) are currently investigating the outbreak. "If you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin and don’t know whether the bagged salad mix you have in your home is one of these recalled salads, do not eat it. Throw it away," the health agency added.

    Bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak. (Getty Images)

    Authorities began recording the parasitic infection from May 11 to June 17, 2020. It has impacted people aged between 16 and 92 years. Of them, 57% are female. From the 8 states recording new cases, 57 caught the infection in Illinois, 74 in Iowa, 1 in Kansas, 25 in Minnesota, 10 in Missouri, 20 in Nebraska, 6 in North Dakota, and 13 in Wisconsin, as per CDC. None have died.

    Given the situation, the health agency has warned people against consuming the product sold under the brand name Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad in Walmart stores in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. At ALDI stores, it sold as Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. At Hy-Vee, it is Garden Salad in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. And at Jewel-Osco stores, it is Signature Farms Garden Salad in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

    "There are typically multiple clusters of cyclospora infections that occur each summer. CDC is working to determine if other recent cases of Cyclospora infection are linked to contaminated ingredients in these bagged salad mixes. This investigation is ongoing," according to the agency.

    The infection is common in tropical and subtropical regions. In the US, authorities have found that the parasite has contaminated food such as imported fresh produce such as raspberries, basil, snow peas, mesclun lettuce, and cilantro.

    If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514


    Here's the truth about triple-washed salad

    It's hard enough to eat healthy. Then you have to wash the fruits and vegetables after you buy them? Such a hassle.

    That's why bagged salad greens are so convenient. You just grab one of those packaged beauties and you're good to go.

    But you might still worry that you should wash it.

    What exactly does that "triple-washed" label mean? Does salad really need to be washed three times to be rid of harmful bacteria and contaminants? That seems excessive.

    Shockingly, studies have found that people actually increase the likelihood that they'll get sick if they clean pre-washed greens at home.

    That's because people often forget to wash the hands, sinks, strainers, and cutting boards they're using to wash and prep the lettuce.

    "It is unlikely that consumer washing of such products will make the product cleaner compared to a commercial triple wash," Michelle Annette Smith, a food safety expert with the US Food and Drug Administration, wrote in a post about the issue. "It is possible that the additional handling may contaminate a product that was clean."

    So producers wash their greens before they bag them.

    "Many pre-cut, bagged, or packaged produce items are pre-washed and ready-to-eat," according to the FDA. "If so, it will be stated on the packaging, and you can use the produce without further washing."

    The triple-washed process doesn't just use water it uses sanitizers to kill bacteria and other pathogens, too, Stephen Kearse found out in an investigation for Slate.

    Here's what the third wash looks like at one producer:

    Kearse seemed disillusioned from his investigation into triple-washing practices, since many companies declined to disclose their precise methods. He concluded that he would rather eat a bag of salad from a producer who was open about sharing how exactly they triple-wash.

    I have a lot more faith in the system, though. If a company says it's washing salad greens, and the FDA says I don't have to wash it again, then I'm not going to.

    Of course, a triple wash can't rid lettuce of every single bacterium. You'd have to heat the greens to get closer to that, and obviously that would ruin your salad.

    And there is some reason for concern. A CDC study found that between 1998 and 2008, leafy greens were associated with more incidents of food poisoning than any other single food category (though contaminated poultry led to more deaths). That study didn't look at bagged salad in particular, but some experts think bagged salad may actually be riskier than old-fashioned heads of lettuce, where contamination is often found only in the outside leaves (which can be removed).

    A study from Consumer Reports found unacceptable levels of bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning in about a third of the 208 salad bags they tested. That doesn't mean these bacteria would cause illness just that they had the potential to do so.

    Consumer Reports recommends buying and eating packaged salads as far away from their sell-by date as possible, since those tended to have fewer bacteria.

    And keep in mind: If bagged salad is helping you eat more greens, then it's likely that the rewards outweigh the risks.

    Unless you're going to be extremely sterile when you wash pre-packaged lettuce yourself though, it's probably best to leave the washing to the professionals. Especially since you're more likely to contaminate the product if you wash it.

    If you're wondering about how to properly wash produce, watch this unintentionally entertaining PSA from the FDA:


    Prepackaged salad mix implicated in recent cyclospora outbreak

    DES MOINES — A prepackaged salad mix has been implicated as the source of the cyclospora outbreak that sickened more than 100 Iowans last month, the State’s top food inspector said today.

    Steven Mandernach, chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said epidemiological data and food history interviews conducted with ill Iowans links a bagged salad mix with the foodborne illness.

    “The evidence points to a salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage as the source of the outbreak reported in Iowa and Nebraska,” Mandernach said, adding: “Iowans should continue eating salads as the implicated prepackaged mix is no longer in the state’s food supply chain.”

    Once epidemiological results from the Iowa Department of Public Health was provided to DIA, the Department’s food inspection staff traced potential products through the food distribution and production system. DIA’s investigation found an exposure to a common prepackaged salad mix from a single source in approximately 80 percent of the cases.

    “Additionally, food histories are challenging as individuals do not always remember the foods eaten during the past several weeks,” Mandernach added.

    Compounding the State’s investigation was the fact that by the time the parasitic-induced illness was identified, most if not all of the suspect product was no longer on the shelves.

    “Because it can take more than a week for the first symptoms to appear after ingesting the contaminated food, there wasn’t a product on the shelf to be examined for the parasite. As a result, most of the foodborne illness investigation focused on trying to trace-back suspected food products through the food chain,” Mandernach explained.

    The statewide investigation was conducted jointly by DIA, IDPH, the State Hygienic Laboratory, local health departments, and officials in Nebraska who were investigating a related outbreak. Despite the challenges of the investigation, Mandernach said a number of successes were also recognized, including the initial detection of the cyclospora by the SHL technicians.

    “Additionally, the investigation was helped by the excellent communication and collaboration between the involved local, state, and federal agencies, and the cooperation of the public, medical providers, and the food industry,” he added.

    Iowa’s public health and regulatory agencies have been working for several years on improving the investigation process for foodborne illness.

    “We saw those efforts pay off during this investigation, as all the players worked together seamlessly to the betterment of the public,” the food inspector said.

    Mandernach noted that Iowa received a three-year cooperative grant in 2012 from the FDA to establish a Food and Feed Rapid Response Team. The team includes not only those agencies involved in the cyclospora investigation, but integrates the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the FDA into the State’s investigative and response process.

    “Our goal, when investigating a foodborne illness, is to as quickly as possible identify the source of the outbreak and stop the spread. The Rapid Response Team assists in this effort by promoting coordination and communication among the various agencies, and making available dedicated staff that are focused on the early detection of potential foodborne illness,” he added.


    Watch the video: Bams Bites: Kale Vegetable Medley Salad (November 2021).