Taylor Farms Of Mexico: Company Responsible For Tainted Salad Supplied To Olive Garden, Red Lobster

Taylor Farms of Mexico, the company that makes a salad mix identified as the source of a parasite outbreak, is a supplier of a major restaurant chain in the United States.

The division of a California-based produce supplier was identified by the Food and Drug Administration as the source of parasite-tainted products that sickened hundreds of people in Nebraska and Iowa. It is not clear if the company was also responsible for a cyclospora outbreak that left more than 400 people from 16 US states ill.

It is not believed the tainted salad was sold to customers in stores, but has been linked to restaurants.

Taylor Farms of Mexico is a supplier for Darden restaurants, the company that operates both Olive Garden and Red Lobster. A spokesman for the firm said Darden had not known about the tainted salad before.

“Nothing we have seen prior to this announcement gave us any reason to be concerned about the products we’ve received from this supplier,” said Rich Jeffers, communications director for Darden.

This is not the first recall for Taylor Farms of Mexico. In February it recalled baby spinach for a possible contamination of Enterohemorrhagic E. coli, or EHEC. The company also recalled romaine lettuce hearts in 2012 over fears of listeria and bagged salad in 2011 for a possible salmonella contamination.

It may never be known if Taylor Farms of Mexico is also responsible for the recent cyclospora outbreak. Michael Osterholm, the head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said an investigation into the outbreak of the rare parasite took too long and wasn’t targeted enough to locate a culprit.

Taylor Farms of Mexico has cooperated with the FDA during its investigation and said it is now looking into operations at its Mexico plant to determine what went wrong.