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Illinois food poisoning attorneysPeople in the United States are often affected by foodborne illnesses. Even though companies that grow, pack, manufacture, distribute, and sell food products are required to meet certain standards to ensure that these products are safe to eat, some foods still become contaminated, leading to serious cases of food poisoning. Of the many different sources of foodborne illness, E. coli is one of the most common, and over the past several years, there have been dozens of outbreaks that have been linked to lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. 

Most recently, an E. coli outbreak resulted in 40 infections and 20 hospitalizations across 19 states between August and October of 2020. The majority of the patients interviewed during an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported eating leafy greens such as spinach or romaine lettuce before becoming infected. However, the CDC was unable to identify a specific source of this outbreak, since the harvesting, processing, and packaging of different types of leafy greens makes it difficult to determine where the original contamination occurred.

Contamination of Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are susceptible to E. coli contamination due to the way they are grown, harvested, and processed. In many cases, animals are raised near where these plants are grown, which may lead to the spread of bacteria to these products. E. coli contamination may also be spread through irrigation or while leafy greens are being harvested and handled. Contaminated products may be included in salad mixes, or cross-contamination may occur in a processing facility, grocery store, or restaurant.

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Cyclospora in Salads Sickens Dozens in IllinoisMore than 200 people in the midwestern U.S. have been diagnosed with cyclosporiasis after eating packaged salads sold in grocery stores. Illinois is one of the states that has been most affected by the cyclospora outbreak, with at least 57 people having been diagnosed from May 11 to June 17. The contamination has been traced to Fresh Express salad packages that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots. The product goes by different names depending on where the product is sold, including:

  • ALDI Little Salad Bar Garden Salads
  • Hy-Vee Garden Salad
  • Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Garden Salad
  • Walmart Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still investigating whether there are additional contaminated Fresh Express salad packages that are sold under other names.

Dangers of Cyclosporiasis

At least 23 of the people recently diagnosed with cyclosporiasis have been hospitalized because of the severity of their symptoms. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal infection caused by consuming food or drink that contains the cyclospora parasite. Cyclospora is most commonly found in produce that is grown in tropical climates, where the parasite is most prevalent and can spread from the feces of humans and animals who have it.

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E.Coli Outbreak Reaches 25 States, Kills One

An E.Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma region of Arizona has been making its way across the United States for more than two months now. The last time we discussed this outbreak, 98 people in 22 states had fallen ill and no deaths had been reported. Now, the illness count is up to 121, illnesses have been reported in 25 states, and one person has died. That person was in California.

Although food poisoning is usually a minor issue, it can be deadly. Certain food-related illnesses are more likely to be deadly than others, but all can potentially lead to complications that put the victim at risk of suffering worsened symptoms and death.

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