Romaine Woes: Cyclospora Outbreak Affects Pre-Made Salads and Wraps

Government health authorities recently warned consumers not to buy more than two dozen pre-made entree items, including mixed green salads and wrap items available in grocery and convenience stores, because of worries about potential parasite pollution.

On Monday, a general statement issued by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service prompted a review of a handful of pre-made meat, pork and poultry salads and wrapped items may contain the parasite cyclospora– an often food-borne, fecal-based parasite that lives in infected food and water products. The products in question were available at supermarkets including Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Walgreens.

What is Cyclospora?

The cyclospora parasite causes intestinal trouble after its consumption, often through infected food or water. Side effects can start up to seven days after eating food contaminated with the parasite. Side effects include both can incorporate the runs and regular, though sometimes explosive, bowel movements, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contaminated individuals may also encounter loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach issues or pain, sickness, gas, and weariness. Nausea, migraines, fever, body aches and influenza-like side effects also come from the parasites.

The sickness can last a couple of days to a couple of months, and patients may begin to feel better but then have their condition deteriorate again. Sufferers of cyclosporiasis can only start to feel better with the use of antimicrobials.

Cyclospora and Fresh Express’ Romaine Lettuce

In its letter urging caution, the USDA said the issue came to light when Indianapolis-based retail wholesaler Caito Foods got a warning from their lettuce provider, Fresh Express, that the romaine lettuce that they use to create a majority of their pre-made salads and wraps was under review.”

The range of items in the scope of the investigation includes those delivered between July 15 and 18 with either the “Best by,” “Appreciate by,” “Best if sold by” or “Offer by” dates going from July 18 through July 23.

The USDA expressed concern that some item might be in shoppers’ refrigerators, and that buyers might be in danger because of the length of the cyclospora hatching period. The official statement released by the USDA said the hatching time frame ranges from two to 14 days and that ailments probably aren’t accounted for yet because of the time it takes between when a man turns out to be sick and when the correct diagnosis becomes handed down.

Shoppers who have purchased these items ought not to eat them–they should either get tossed out or returned to the store where they came from.

News of the review comes after a cyclospora contamination disaster that started in May related to McDonald’s plates of salads provided by Fresh Express. The aggregate number of research-center affirmed sicknesses from that incident was at 286 on July 26, as indicated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No less than 11 of the afflicted people in that incident went to the hospital for cyclospora-related symptoms.


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