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Hy-Vee recalls store brand garden salad after potential parasite outbreak

The FDA and CDC are advising those in the Midwest to not eat ALDI, Hy-Vee or Jewel-Osco store brand bagged salads labeled as "garden salads."

IOWA, USA — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with state and local partners are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Cyclospora illnesses potentially linked to certain garden salad brands. 

Specifically, the illnesses are potentially linked to ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad, and Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad from Jewel-Osco. 

The CDC's analysis of epidemiological information shows that the bagged salads from ALDI, Hy-Vee and Jewel-Osco grocery stores are a likely cause of the illnesses.

The FDA and CDC are recommending that consumers should not eat, and restaurants and retailers should not sell any of these products.

Hy-Vee has since recalled their product after their supplier, Fresh Express notified them of the contamination.

According to a release from Hy-Vee, the company hasn't received any reports of illness from someone eating their store brand garden salad. 

According to the FDA, Cyclospora is a parasite "that is so small it can only be seen under a microscope." It causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. It's generally transmitted when infected feces contaminate food or water.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, with "frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements." Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea and fatigue. 

Those infected may also experience flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, body aches, headache or a low-grade fever, according to the FDA. The administration also notes that some people infected with Cyclospora may not show symptoms. 

A total of 76 people have been sick and 16 people have been hospitalized, according to the FDA. 

Here are the case totals for states that have reported illnesses:

  • Iowa — 28
  • Illinois — 23
  • Kansas — 1
  • Minnesota — 10
  • Missouri — 7
  • Nebraska — 7

The start of the illnesses came between May 11, 2020 and June 14, 2020, according to the FDA. 

Consumers are advised to follow these steps if they've purchased any of these products:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used. 
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
  • Always wash hands with hot, soapy water following the cleaning and sanitization process. 
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating potentially contaminated foods should consult their health care provider.

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