In Lincoln, Nebraska, critics feel that consumers are not getting enough information about the cyclospora outbreak that has affected people in 15 states since June. Cyclospora can be a serious intestinal illness, even in healthy adults, and it can last for as long as a month when left untreated. The illness has affected almost 400 people across the country. Cases in two of the states have been found to have a link to pre-packaged salads.
Cyclospora is a rare parasite, but it’s been reported in 15 states, and the threat may not be over yet.
However, it seems that almost nobody has the cause of the outbreak to help consumers even determine if they are at risk or not. In Nebraska and Iowa, health officials have said that they have managed to trace many of the cases to prepackaged salad. They haven’t said where it’s been sold, or which brand, though, and officials are only explaining that most of it hadn’t been grown locally.
This is causing many consumers to express concern, and many feel that the companies that package and distribute the salad should be held responsible when there is any kind of outbreak. The bottom line is that consumers should have information regarding the origination of outbreaks so they can make smart choices when it comes to their food.
California seems to be out of the running as the offending state; even though they produce much of the leafy greens that go in prepackaged salads, they have not gotten any reports of cyclospora cases.
One grocery store owner in Nebraska has said that with so little information, even store owners don’t know what products to pull, and what to leave available to customers. According to authorities, the cases of cyclospora from state to state haven’t been linked.
A spokeswoman for the CDC, María-Belén Moran, it’s still too early to say whether the outbreak is over, and the CDC does not feel comfortable saying that people aren’t at risk of getting sick.
Of the states affected, only Nebraska and Iowa health officials have officially linked the cyclospora outbreak to a salad mix that contains iceberg and romaine lettuce, red cabbage and carrots, but many consumers, even those far from areas of outbreak have admitted that they have been avoiding this type of produce.
It is also believed that about 80 percent of the produce was grown and processed outside of Nebraska and Iowa. Officials still haven’t determined the origins of the other 20 percent of the produce, and they may never find out because many that become ill don’t always remember what they have eaten.
For now, consumer groups are pressuring health officials and the CDC to disclose the brand of prepackaged salad causing the cyclospora outbreak, so it can be pulled from grocery store shelves and the danger of becoming ill can pass.