Taylor Farms of Mexico has been identified as the source of the cyclospora based stomach bug.
The bagged salad mix they supplied to restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska was contaminated with the parasite, which is frequently found in fecal matter.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that its investigators located the stomach flu-like illness clusters at four restaurants that had been supplied by Taylor Farms of Mexico. The investigation did not find that consumer packages sold in grocery stores were similarly affected.
Taylor Farms of Mexico co-operated with all FDA requests during the investigation. The company, together with the FDA, will be assessing the company’s processing facility in Mexico to try to learn the probable cause of the outbreak. They will then need to identify preventive controls to put in place to prevent the same thing happening again.
In 2011,The FDA checked the processing facility of Taylor Farms and found no notable issues. Following the current investigation, FDA is increasing its surveillance efforts on green leafy products exported to the United States from Mexico.
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said the contaminated salad was probably no longer available in these states. The last date someone became ill with cyclosporiasis in Iowa was July 1 and in Nebraska July 2. The typical shelf life for a salad mix is up to 14 days, the FDA said.
FDA officials said that it wasn’t yet clear if the 173 cases reported from the other 15 states infected with cyclospora were part of the same outbreak. Until Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 400 cases nationally of cyclosporiasis — 146 in Iowa and 81 in Nebraska.
Taylor Farms of Mexico will now have to concentrate on improving its control and inspection facility, and try to re-build its reputation.
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