Cyclospora in bagged salad mix sold in the Midwest

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections apparently linked to ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco grocery store brand bagged “garden salads” containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots. Hy-Vee and Jewel-Osco grocery stores have recalled their store brand bagged salads specifically labeled as “garden salads” and sold in mid-western states.

What should consumers do? Consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad or Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad. The Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salads were sold in stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Brand Garden Salads were sold in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Additionally, FDA and CDC warn people not to eat all ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad sold in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri.

What is cyclospora? Cyclospora is an infectious parasite. People can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces (stool) that contains the parasite. Cyclospora is not spread directly from one person to another. In the United States, most foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to fresh produce. Illness usually begins about 1 week after exposure. If the infection is not treated, symptoms can last for several weeks to a month or more. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

Medical treatment is needed to fully recover from a parasitic infection and limit the spread to others. Consult your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts more than three days.

Consumers who are concerned should follow these steps:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops with soapy water, rinse and sanitize with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Allow to air dry or dry with a clean paper or cloth towel.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, and before and after cleaning the kitchen!

And it’s always a good idea to clean spills in the refrigerator immediately after they happen and clean your refrigerator regularly. Stay well and food-safe. Barb