Fresh Express, a produce company based in Salinas, California, has been linked to a multistate outbreak of illnesses from a parasite called cyclospora in its wholesale bagged salad mixes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Fresh Express supplied bagged salad mixes that were contaminated with cyclospora to approximately 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants primarily in the Midwest. Impacted states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri. Following the reports of the outbreak, McDonald’s has voluntarily ceased sales of its salads until it can find a new supplier.
The CDC reports that as of August 2nd, 2018, there were a total of 395 lab confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection from people that ate McDonald’s salads across 15 states with 16 hospitalizations.
The FDA states that Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis, were the distributors of beef, pork, and poultry salad and wrap products that are potentially contaminated with Cyclospora. Caito Foods sells a variety of packaged foods to grocery and retail stores, including Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walmart.
Most people infected with the Cyclospora parasite develop diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms of Cyclosporiasis 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 also develop.
The investigation is ongoing and the FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for romaine lettuce and carrots.