CDC: Texas Cyclospora Cases Not Linked to Taylor Farms Salad

August 28, 2013 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that they do not believe Taylor Farms de Mexico is responsible for a cluster of Cyclospora food poisonings. The American-based company imported salad processed in Mexico that was eaten by 80% of people who got sick in Iowa and Nebraska. The CDC is still working with health department officials in Texas to investigate more than 250 cases of cyclosporiasis.

According to the CDC:

“The preliminary analysis of results from an investigation into a cluster of cases that ate at a Texas restaurant does not show a connection to Taylor Farms de Mexico. … Although the investigation of cases continues, available evidence suggests that not all of the cases of cyclosporiasis in the various states are directly related to each other.”

The CDC cautioned: “It is not unusual to recognize outbreaks that happen in the same season but are due to different foods.” For example, in 1997, three outbreaks of cyclosporiasis were linked to different fresh produce items during a several-month period. Furthermore, the cases in Texas differ from those in Iowa and Nebraska. In those states, cases were linked to salad served at Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and other restaurants.

Public health investigators in Texas interviewed people who got sick to find out what they ate in the 2 weeks before becoming ill. Then, CDC investigators identified a group of case-patients who ate at the same restaurant in Texas, which was not named. Investigators also interviewed people who ate at the restaurant but did not get sick. Their analysis showed no connection between the illnesses and salad mix, leafy greens, or salad mix components imported by Taylor Farms.

Unfortunately, laboratory tests cannot distinguish different strains of the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite. If such tools were developed, they would be useful for linking illnesses to a possible source.

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