Tracing Cyclospora stomach bug to Arkansas may take time - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Tracing Cyclospora stomach bug to Arkansas may take time

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Despite naming a source of a stomach illness outbreak, it may be awhile before health officials can connect the tainted salad mix to Arkansas.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration said they know the source of tainted salad mix that has sickened more than 200 people in Nebraska and Iowa since mid-June. Now, they're investigating if it's linked to 200 additional cases in 14 other states, including Arkansas.

The parasite Cyclospora has left 22 people hospitalized with intestinal infections. The FDA said the illnesses in Nebraska and Iowa were caused by contaminated pre-packages salad supplied by Taylor Farms de Mexico and served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. The FDA's investigation into Arkansas and other states may take some time says food safety expert, Caroline Smith DeWaal.

"This could be one outbreak where the trace back isn't complete yet, or it could be multiple outbreaks and FDA is still tracking down all of the food sources," said DeWaal.

Taylor Farms de Mexico says it is cooperating fully with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.

In a statement released over the weekend the company said:

"Taylor Farms de Mexico assesses and tests all water sources, raw product fields; every lot, every day for any risk to our valued customers' products. We are redoubling and enhancing our testing and scrutiny in these areas to further assure food safety."

The product shipped in June is no longer in the supply chain and bagged salad is safe to eat, the company said.

"The company involved here has strict standards, but this is an emerging pathogen in this area," said DeWaal.  "We haven't heard of this particular part of Mexico having problems with Cyclospora before."