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Taylor Farms de Mexico Ceases Shipments of all Salad Mixes to the U.S. in Response to Recent Cyclospora Outbreak

lettuce.jpgOn August 12, 2013, Taylor Farms de Mexico officially informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) that it had voluntarily suspended shipment of all salad mixes, including iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red cabbage, green cabbage, and carrots from its operations in Mexico to the United States, as of August 9, 2013. Taylor Farms de Mexico will not resume shipments or production of these products from its operations in Mexico until it receives FDA approval. In the meantime, officials from the FDA and Taylor Farms will conduct an environment assessment of the Taylor Farms processing facility in Mexico to determine the probable cause of the outbreak.

Taylor Farms de Mexico is a division of the California-based produce supplier Taylor Farms whose greens go to various restaurant chains, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Notably, it is believed that these products have not been sold directly to consumers. According to NBC News, Taylor Farms de Mexico is responsible for shipping salad mixes tainted with parasites that have sickened hundreds of individuals in Nebraska and Iowa. At this point, the FDA and Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) are still investigating whether Taylor Farms’ bagged salad is also tied to the cyclospora outbreak that sickened more than 535 individuals nationwide in 18 states, including Texas, over the past several months. In fact, as of August 12, 2013, there were 215 cyclospora outbreak cases reported in Texas alone. Unfortunately, unlike the outbreaks in Nebraska and Iowa for which health officials have traced the source of the outbreak, authorities in Texas have failed to find a common source for the sickness thus far.

According to the FDA, cyclospora is a parasite too small to be seen without a microscope that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. The cyclospora parasite is acquired by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the cyclospora parasite. Since cyclospora needs days, and sometimes even weeks, after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person, it is unlikely that it will be passed to individuals that have not directly ingested the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps and fever.


According to the FDA, cyclospora is a parasite too small to be seen without a microscope that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis. The cyclospora parasite is acquired by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the cyclospora parasite. Since cyclospora needs days, and even weeks, after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person, it is unlikely that it will be passed to individuals that have not directly ingested the parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps and fever.

To be classified as a case of cyclospora outbreak by the CDC, the following factors must be present: (1) a laboratory must confirm the existence of the cyclospora infection, (2) the onset of the illness must have occurred since the beginning of June 2013, and (3) the person infected must have no history of travel outside of the U.S. in the 14 days leading up to the onset of illness. Texas state law requires that all children with confirmed cyclosporiasis be kept out of school and/or childcare until they are diarrhea and fever-free.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance (“TDI”), the CDC estimates that 76 million people suffer foodborne illness each year in the United States, accounting for 325,000 hospitalizations and more than 5,000 deaths. The TDI also reports that there are 250 known foodborne diseases, caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

If you or a family member has been injured or wrongfully killed from a defective food product, including but not limited to Taylor Farms salad mixes, call our San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Carabin & Shaw at 1-800-862-1260. Our attorneys will review your case for free and help determine if a case can be filed.

Sources:

FDA names Taylor Farms as source in parasite outbreak, by JoNel Aleccia, NBC News
FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Foodborne Diseases FactSheet, The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation
Tracking Cyclospora Source In Texas Moving Slow, CBS DFW