The salad mix was supplied to Olive Garden and Red Lobster, which are owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants. Darden spokesman Mike Bernstein said this is the first time he has heard of any illness, or had any concerns, about Taylor Farms de Mexico, which supplies produce to the food service industry. The FDA traced the illnesses from the restaurants in Nebraska and Iowa to a Taylor Farms facility in San Miguel de Allende, which is the only one out of 12 Taylor facilities associated with the outbreak.
Bruce Taylor, the chairman and CEO of Taylor Farms, said the plant, about 180 miles north of Mexico City, produced 48 million servings of salads for thousands of restaurants in the Midwest and eastern US in June, which is when the cyclospora outbreak started. Taylor added that the plant is working closely with the FDA to continue its investigation.
To date, Iowa reported 146 illnesses, Nebraska 81 illnesses and 113 reported in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nebraska reported its most recent known illness one month ago, said the CDC. The most recent illness occurred July 23 but a location was not specified. The CDC further said that packaged salad sold in grocery stores has not been associated to the outbreak. On August 2 Missouri health officials reported three confirmed cases of cyclospora infection, but a link to the bagged salad mix has not been confirmed.
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The only way to determine whether a person has cyclospora is by taking a stool sample. The CDC recommends prevention by washing your fruits and vegetables in pre-packed produce washing mixes or using vinegar and water as a homemade wash to help decrease the chances of the parasite infecting your food.