Officials: Cyclospora patients ate different brands of bagged sa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Officials: Cyclospora patients ate different brands of bagged salad

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LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -

You grab the bag out of the fridge and start making a salad, but officials say there's an important step many may be skipping.

"We look at that bag and they may say pre-washed and so forth, but still, standards across the industry may vary," said Barbara Chadwick, Linn County Public Health Department. "It's just a good rule of thumb and a good habit just to wash them again."

Not washing bags of salad may be why hundreds of people across the Midwest became sick with the cyclospora parasite, causing them to have diarrhea for an extended period of time.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals says more than three quarters of the people who got sick ate a pre-packaged salad mix containing iceberg and romaine lettuce, as well as carrots and red cabbage.

Officials would not specify a brand.

"We tend to see with produces that, just because it has one brand name on it or one name on it, doesn't mean that the same farm isn't supplying to other places, so we're working our way through that process," said Steven Mandernach, Chief of the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. 

The good news is the contaminated bags seem to be off shelves, because most people who got sick began noticing symptoms more than a month ago.

"The numbers are decreasing," said Chadwick. "That's a good sign."

Health officials say bagged salads and other fruits and vegetables are safe to eat and they encourage you to eat them because they're a part of a healthy diet. They say just make sure you wash your produce thoroughly before you eat it.

One hundred and forty-three people in Iowa have been impacted. Forty-two of those cases were in Linn County.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says that at no time was an Iowa-grown fruit or vegetable suspected to be the cause of the cyclospora outbreak.

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