Salads, depending on the ingredients, are considered a healthy meal choice, and involved in many diets. Whether it’s eating a salad as an entrée or a small garden salad to begin feeling full before the entrée arrives, salads help with weight loss. But what happens when salad greens become contaminated? Recently, a Cyclospora outbreak has been linked to bagged lettuce from a Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, Illinois, that has sickened more than 200 people in 8 states in the Midwest.

What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora is a parasite that causes an infection called cyclosporiasis that occurs when humans eat or drink contaminated food or water. The first major foodborne cyclosporiasis outbreak began in the mid-1990s, the current outbreak makes it three years in a row that there has been an outbreak during warmer months. While it is undetermined what causes the outbreaks, this outbreak is likely due to the quality of water used to irrigate the produce. While symptoms can range an average of 7 days to 2 weeks, they can persist longer if gone untreated. There are several symptoms to keep an eye out for; these symptoms include:

  • Watery diarrhea (most common)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Increased gas
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Other Symptoms that are less common, but may still occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever

What to do if you have symptoms, according to the CDC

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the two weeks before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to the health department.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

What Fresh Express products are being recalled?

On June 27th, Fresh Express issued a recall on the salad mixes from its Streamwood facility that contained iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, or carrots. The current recall includes salads with a Z at the beginning of the Product Code. The Product Code can be found in the upper-right-hand corner on the front of the package. While the products are all from Fresh Express, stores sell them under different brand names. The stores that carry Fresh Express products that have been recalled are Walmart, ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco. Here are the brand names associated with the stores:

  • Walmart: Marketside brand Classic Iceberg Salad
  • ALDI: Little Salad Bar brand Garden Salad
  • Hy-Vee: Hy-Vee brand Garden Salad
  • Jewel-Osco: Jewel-Osco Signature Farms brand Garden Salad

While these are the products being recalled, everyone should be cautious of any other Fresh Express products that are made from Fresh Express’ facility in Streamwood, Illinois.

In diets, salads are considered a healthy option that supports weight loss. While salad greens are healthy, they are susceptible to contaminants, especially during the warmer months. There is currently a recall on Fresh Express products that made more than 200 people sick in 8 states in the Midwest due to an outbreak of Cyclospora. Although symptoms are generally mild, it is important that if anyone feels any symptoms, they contact their doctors and report their illness to the health department.