(RxWiki News) The investigation into cases of cyclosporiasis (infection with the foodborne parasite Cyclospora) continue this week as infection counts across the US rise.
In early August, it was reported that a salad mix produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico was the source of infections in Iowa and Nebraska. The search for additional sources in the multi-state outbreak has continued, with health officials indicating uncertainty about whether all US infections are related.
Now Taylor Farms has suspended shipment of any salad mix or leafy greens to the US as officials continue to hunt for the cause of Cyclospora infections in other states.
"Wash all fresh produce thoroughly. "
On August 12, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that Taylor Farms "...voluntarily suspended production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green, or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the United States." The suspension will last until the FDA grants approval for production and shipping to return to normal.
The FDA noted that only the salad mix had been tied to the outbreak, and only in Iowa and Nebraska. However, Taylor Farms' suspension involves the salad mix in question, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red cabbage, green cabbage and carrots.
In a statement released August 12, Taylor Farm reported that it has shifted production of these products to crops and facilities located within the US to keep supplies up during the suspension of production in Mexico, which it expects to last several weeks. The company noted that its broccoli products will continue to be produced in Mexico, as broccoli is not a part of the investigation
"This decision allows Taylor Farms de Mexico to focus more resources on assisting the FDA in their investigation of the June Cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska," Taylor Farms reported. "We continue to be very confident in our Mexico operation throughout our own review of our existing, and recently further enhanced, food safety procedures, systems and critical control points."
In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of cyclosporiasis cases across the US has increased to 535. The infections have caused 32 hospitalizations and zero deaths.
Eighteen states have now identified cases of cyclosporiasis. Iowa and Nebraska are the only two states to have reported on known sources of the infections. CDC noted that most patients became ill between mid-June and early July.
"At this stage of the investigation it is unclear if transmission is still occurring nationally and if all of the reported cases are part of the same outbreak," CDC reported. "CDC and its public health partners are vigorously working to determine if the conclusion reached in Iowa and Nebraska helps explain the increased cases of cyclosporiasis in other states."
The FDA noted Taylor Farms' cooperation during the investigation, reporting that the company's recent action to suspend shipments to the US "...exemplifies the company’s cooperation with federal and state officials throughout this ongoing, complicated investigation."