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Illinois Salad Producer Has Third Food Poisoning Incident in Last Three YearsThe number of people who have been affected by the cyclospora salad outbreak has increased since we last reported it in June. As of July 24, 641 people in 11 states are confirmed to have contracted cyclospora, as well as more than 100 other people in Canada. Illinois has been the state with the most people infected, with 241 reported cases. Dozens of people have been hospitalized but no one has died. The cyclospora outbreak was linked to garden salads produced by Fresh Express in its Streamwood, Illinois, facility. Fresh Express has recalled the packaged salads, which were sold under various names at Jewel-Osco, ALDI, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, and ShopRite. The fact that this is the third food poisoning outbreak in three years connected to Fresh Express and its Streamwood facility gives an additional reason for concern.

2018 Cyclospora Outbreak

From May to July in 2018, 511 people from 15 states, including Illinois, contracted cyclospora after eating salads sold at McDonald’s restaurants in the Midwest. Fresh Express was the supplier for McDonald’s salads at the time, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that a package of romaine lettuce and carrots from the Streamwood facility had tested positive for cyclospora. McDonald’s stopped selling salads that it purchased from Fresh Express and switched to a different supplier.

2019 E. Coli Outbreak

In November 2019, 10 people from five states, including one from Illinois, contracted a strain of E. coli that the FDA believed originated from Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits. The strain of E. coli was different from the strain in a concurrent incident involving contaminated romaine lettuce grown in California. The FDA was unable to determine which ingredient in the salad kit was contaminated and announced that the outbreak was over on Jan. 15.

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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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