More than 200 people have been infected by an intestinal parasite after reportedly consuming vegetables from Fresh Del Monte Produce vegetable trays. According to a report in The New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported there were 212 cases of the infection, cyclosporiasis in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin as of last week. Those who were infected reporting consuming vegetables from pre-packed Del Monte trays that included carrots, cauliflower, carrots and dill dip. Most of the trays were purchased from Kwik Trip of Kwik Star convenience stores in those states.
What is Cyclosporiasis?
The Times reports that outbreaks involving cyclosporiasis in the United States have been linked to imported fresh produce tainted with a microscopic parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis. The infection first garnered attention in the United States during a widespread outbreak in the mid-1990s. In 1996, more than 1,000 became ill with this infection.
Since then, similar outbreaks have been linked to a variety of produce from basil and snow peas to cabbage and cilantro. In 2013, more than 600 cases in two dozen states were linked to a salad mix. Last month, Del Monte recalled vegetable trays in the Midwest. The recalls primarily affected Illinois and Indiana in addition to the four states where the infections have been reported. The CDC is asking consumers not to eat from these vegetable trays if they have them at home.
What Consumers Can Do
This parasitic infection could cause a number of stomach-related illnesses, fever, fatigue and symptoms usually surface a week after the tainted food was eaten. This essentially means that we could see many more cases as consumers start reporting their illnesses. Cyclospora infects the small intestine or bowel and usually causes watery diarrhea with frequent, sometimes, explosive bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, stomach cramps, weight loss, bloating, gas, nausea and fatigue. Those sickened may also have other flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, body aches and fever.
If you have been sickened by these products, it is important that you isolate and preserve the product so they can be independently examined in a lab for the presence of pathogens. Save any purchase receipts you may have for the product. Get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for your illness and follow the doctor’s orders. Report your illness to your local health care agency, which tracks these types of outbreaks. Contact an experienced food poisoning or defective products lawyer who will help you secure compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.