Agribiz food at risk for Cyclospora cayetanensis contamination

Taylor Farms, the large vegetable producer whose salad mix has been linked to hundreds of sickened people in 22 states, has had an unusual number of voluntary recalls for potentially tainted products in the last three years.The recent recall of greens used at Olive Garden, Red Lobster and possibly other restaurant chains is Taylor Farm’s fourth this year. The company initiated three others in 2012 and three in 2011, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Only the most recent was prompted by an outbreak of illnesses, he added. Since June of this year, more than 600 cases of cyclosporiasis, an intestinal disease caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a parasite that is transmitted through feces, have been reported. Although not all reported cases were tied to Taylor Farms produce, this is the largest outbreak of cyclosporiasis since 1997.
Taylor competitors Dole and Fresh Express, a unit of Chiquita Brands, each had four recalls in 2012 and one in 2011. Neither company has conducted a recall so far this year, according to F.D.A. Records.
But several of those recalls could have been prompted by random inspections by state health agencies under a federal program that is now defunct. Taylor and other large produce companies had successfully lobbied to get rid of it, arguing that by the time the program identified a pathogen, the tainted product had already long since been consumed, making it hard to recall.
This week, Taylor Farms resumed operations at its Mexican processing facilities, which were the source of the greens tainted with Cyclospora, after an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration found conditions met known safety protocols.
The Centers for Disease Control, which is working with the F.D.A. on the matter, said this week that while investigations in Nebraska and Iowa had linked the outbreaks there to products from Taylor Farms of Mexico.
“Although the investigation of cases in 2013 is ongoing, available evidence suggests that not all of the cases of cyclosporiasis in the various states are directly related to each other,” the C.D.C. Said.
“Something else is going on, and I think it’s probably environmental,”

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