200 Sick in a Secret 2022 Caesar Salad Kit Cyclospora Outbreak

It’s hard to know what’s more surprising, that an outbreak linked to salad kits contaminated with a parasite sickened more than 200 people in one state and was kept secret for a year, or that the identified brand never issued a recall. Those tidbits were revealed this week in the latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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A Spike in Overall Florida Cases

Cyclospora is a parasite native to tropical climates. Non-travel-related cases are frequently linked to imported produce. Symptoms of an infection include diarrhea that is often described as explosive and watery, nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. Usually, these symptoms appear within 1 to 14 days of exposure and without treatment can last for months.

Over the last ten years, the number of cases reported annually in Florida has been increasing. In 2021, 254 cases were reported. The following year the number doubled to 513.

A Bagged Salad Cyclospora Outbreak

The Florida Department of Health required county public health personnel to interview patients with confirmed cases with illness onset dates ranging from May 1–August 31, 2022, and complete the CDC Cyclosporiasis National Hypothesis Generating Questionnaire. A total of 457 questionnaires were completed. Of those, 330 were non-travel-related. And 200 of those patients reported eating bagged salad before they became ill on dates ranging from June 23 to July 16, 2022.

Eighty-five of these patients named a specific brand of Caesar salad kit containing only romaine lettuce, from a specific grocery store chain. Another 76 patients said they ate Caesar salad kits before they became sick but couldn’t recall the brand name. Genetic tests showed 161 cases were linked.

“This information was shared with the Food and Drug Administration along with source information for the implicated product from the grocery store chain to facilitate traceback of the product; however, the source of the likely contaminated product was not identified,” the report states.

2020 Bagged Salad Outbreak

In 2020, a Cyclospora outbreak linked to Fresh Express bagged salads ended after sickening 701 people in 14 states. Thirty-eight people were hospitalized.

The bagged salads containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots produced at the Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, IL were sold under the Fresh Express brand name and a variety of store brands including ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside. 

Experienced Cyclospora Lawyers

Pritzker Hageman Cyclospora lawyers have represented clients sickened in every major Cyclospora outbreak in the U.S. To request a free consultation about your potential case, please call 1-888-377-8900, text 612-261-0856, or complete the form below.

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Category: Cyclospora, Food Poisoning
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