Texas has had the most illnesses in the outbreak, 215 so far.
Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY6:23 p.m. EDT August 12, 2013
The company that distributes a salad mix linked to as many as 535 cases of a diarrheal disease has stopped making and shipping salad mixes from Mexico, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday.
The salad mix linked to the outbreak was produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico, based about 180 miles north of Mexico City in San Miguel de Allende. It is the Mexican subsidiary of an American food-service company, Taylor Farms of Salinas, Calif.
Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska have linked the mix,which includes iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage, to 153 cyclospora illnesses in Iowa and 86 in Nebraska since June.
The salad mix was served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not definitively linked the other 296 cases in 16 other states to the salad mix, but the company on Friday voluntarily agreed to stop shipping the mix to the United States and will not start again without telling the FDA, the company said in a statement on its website.
“This decision allows Taylor Farms de Mexico to focus more resources on assisting the FDA in their investigation of the June cyclospora outbreak,” the statement read.
Taylor farms has 12 production sites; only the one in Mexico was affected. In order to be able to continue supplying its customers Taylor Farms says it has shifted production of salad mix and leafy greens to its facilities in California, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and Maryland.
The company will continue to grow and pack broccoli in Mexico for shipment to the United States, “as broccoli is not subject to this investigation,” a statement on the Taylor Farms website said.
The cyclospora outbreak is believed to have ended in early July, according to the CDC. However, cases of the intestinal illness continue to be reported as sick people seek treatment and are diagnosed.
Cyclospora is caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. It is transmitted when feces enters the food or water supply. The disease is treated with antibiotics.
Cases have been reported in 18 states, the largest number, 215, in Texas, the CDC said Monday. Thirty-two people have been hospitalized.