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CDC: Cyclospora illnesses in Texas not related to Taylor Farms

By Joe Whitworth+

27-Aug-2013

Hundreds of illnesses from Cyclospora in Texas do not show a connection to Taylor Farms’ salad mix, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency said an ongoing investigation from a Texas restaurant appears to suggest that not all of the cases of cyclosporiasis in various states are directly related to each other.

Meanwhile, Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., has resumed production and shipment of salad mix, leafy greens, and salad mix components from Mexico to the US after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval last weekend.

Taylor Farms voluntarily suspended production and shipment from its operations in Mexico to the US earlier this month.

An FDA traceback investigation found that the salad mix was supplied to restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska by Taylor Farms, a processor of foodservice salads.

Texas investigation

CDC is collaborating with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and public health departments to investigate cases of cyclosporiasis reported among people in Texas.

The case count for the state is at 258, while the total number of people sickened has reached 610 with 43 people hospitalized from 22 states.

Ill people range in age from less than one year to 92 years, with a median age of 51 years and 55% are female, reported the agency.

No laboratory tests are available yet that can distinguish different strains of the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis, said the CDC.

Public health investigators have interviewed people in Texas about their exposures during the two weeks before they became ill.

Interviews have covered what food they ate and where they ate and purchased the food and investigators have identified a group of ill people who reported eating at the same restaurant.

The preliminary analysis of results from an investigation into a cluster of cases that ate at a Texas restaurant does not show a connection to Taylor Farms de Mexico.

For example, during a several-month period in 1997, there were three separate and unrelated outbreaks of cyclosporiasis caused by different fresh produce items from various sources,” said the CDC.

“Strong evidence from epidemiologic investigations led to the recognition that the outbreaks were separate and unrelated.”

Taylor Farms facility

From 11-19 August the FDA with the cooperation of Mexican government authorities and Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., conducted an environmental assessment at the processing facility and five farms identified through the Cyclosporaoutbreak’s traceback investigation.

They found that conditions and practices at the facilities at the time of the assessment were in accordance with food safety protocols.

The firm has committed to a Cyclosporasampling program for leafy green and other products from their farms and processing facility in Mexico.

This will include sampling of their products and water and continued monitoring of the sanitary conditions of their facilities.

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