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More than 500 sick from outbreak linked to bagged grocery store salads

An outbreak of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged grocery store salads has now sickened more than 500 people across 8 states and parts of Canada.

There have now been more than 500 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged salads sold at several major grocery store chains, according to federal health officials.  

The CDC has traced the current outbreak back to bagged salad mixes containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express at its facility in Streamwood, Illinois. 

This week, the FDA began an inspection at the Streamwood facility and the CDC and FDA are working to determine which of the ingredients in the salad mix may have been contaminated with Cyclospora and whether other products are a source of illnesses. 

Cyclospora is a parasite that can cause severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, body aches and fatigue. The infection is treated with antibiotics and most people respond quickly to treatment. 

In late June, Fresh Express recalled Fresh Express brand and private label brand salad products produced at the facility. According to the CDC, the recalled products were distributed to 30 states and sold under either the Fresh Express brand name or the store brand labels ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside

The Fresh Express recall includes products marked with the letter “Z” at the beginning of the Product Code, followed by the number “178” or lower.

Credit: Fresh Express

As of Wednesday, the CDC reported a total of 509 confirmed cases across 8 states: Illinois (151), Iowa (160), Kansas (5), Minnesota (63), Missouri (46) Nebraska (48), North Dakota (6), and Wisconsin (30).

So far, 33 people have been hospitalized. All the reported illness happened between May 11 and July 1, according to the CDC

Those who have gotten sick told health officials the salad mixes they ate were purchased from ALDI, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, and Walmart stores in the Midwest.

RELATED: Fresh Express issues 'precautionary recall' for salads sold at Giant Eagle, Aldi, Walmart due to Cyclospora risk

RELATED: Hy-Vee expands salad recall following potential parasite contamination

Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it has identified 37 confirmed cases of Cyclospora illness in Canada linked to the Fresh Express salad outbreak. 

Consumers should throw out all recalled salad products, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick yet. 

Credit: Jewel-Osco/FDA
Jewel-Osco stated its recall of bagged Signature Farms Garden Salad, sold in its stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa was potentially linked to an outbreak of Cyclospora infections in midwestern states.
Credit: Food and Drug Administration
Back of Hy-Vee Garden Salad
Credit: FDA
Fresh Express, out of an abundance of caution, has issued a recall of a limited quantity of Marketside Classic Iceberg Salad from select stores as a precautionary measure due to a possible health risk from Cyclospora.