Jewel, Aldi bagged salads linked to outbreak of intestinal parasite

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Federal authorities are warning consumers not to eat certain bagged salads from Jewel-Osco, Aldi and Hy-Vee as they investigate an outbreak of Cyclospora that has sickened 76 people in the Midwest.

Jewel-Osco and Hy-Vee over the weekend recalled their store-branded packaged garden salads, which are manufactured by Fresh Express, the Food and Drug Administration announced Monday. The agency said Aldi reported it removed its Little Salad Bar Garden Salads from store shelves.

Those garden salads, which contain iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage, may be linked to an outbreak of intestinal infections caused by the Cyclospora parasite. Seventy-six people in six Midwestern states, including 23 people in Illinois, fell ill between mid-May and mid-June. Sixteen people were hospitalized.

People become infected with Cyclospora by consuming food or water contaminated with human feces that contain the parasite, with frequent bouts of watery diarrhea the most common symptom, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which is investigating alongside the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms, which usually begin a week after exposure, can also include loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, nausea, fatigue and low-grade fever.

The infection can be treated with antibiotics.

“Although a link has been made to Cyclospora in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the state’s health department, said in a news release. “If you consumed store brand packaged garden salads since May and then developed watery diarrhea, please contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”

In the past, cases of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce including raspberries, basil, snow peas, and lettuce, the state agency said. In 2018 a Cyclospora outbreak that sickened 511 people was linked to romaine in McDonald’s salads supplied by Fresh Express, which subsequently convened a panel to explore how to guard against future outbreaks.

Fresh Express could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Jewel-Osco Signature Farms Brand Garden Salads were sold in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Aldi’s salads were sold in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri.The recalled Hy-Vee salads were sold in stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

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