Cyclospora Linked to Pre-Mixed Salad - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Cyclospora Linked to Pre-Mixed Salad

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

A food borne parasite - cyclospora - sickened 372 people nationwide. More than 100 of those cases came from Iowa.

The cyclospora made its way into Iowa in a contaminated salad mixture, but the Iowa Department of Public Health can't say precisely where that contamination came from.

"It came into Iowa in a pre–packaged, ready-to-eat salad mixture that contained iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage," Dr. Patricia Quinlisk of the IDPH said.

The contaminated mixture could have gone out to both restaurants and grocery stores around the state.

"We don't have a particular brand or a particular place where people were exposed," Dr. Quinlisk said.

According to the IDPH, the salad mix may have been sold to a number of different brands and distributors. That's why they say they can't pinpoint a single brand or location that got people sick.

The salad came into the state already tainted.

"That's probably where cyclospora contaminates the food item – in the field," Quinlisk said.

Since any kind of produce can carry cyclospora, the health department said they don't know which part of the mixture it was.

"We have to have the food inspectors and people like the FDA involved to try to help us trace it back and figure out where it might have been contaminated – for example what field that contamination might have occurred in – and that will then tell us what food it might be," Quinlisk said.

Officials say the risk of cyclospora has been removed, so it's possible we'll never know exactly where it came from.

 

"By Iowa law they're not allowed to name the product unless there's an ongoing public health risk," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Medical Consultant.

The health department says the risk of cyclospora has been removed. No new cases have been reported in Iowa in weeks.

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