FDA Allows Company Linked to Tainted Salad to Reopen

August 27, 2013

The Mexican unit of Taylor Farms, a food processor whose salad mix had been linked with an intestinal bug outbreak that affected some Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, has been authorized by U.S. health regulators to resume operations.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that the firm will implement a comprehensive program designed to detect Cyclospora, the parasite responsible for the outbreak, on leafy greens and other products from its farms and processing facility.

The program will include sampling products and water, and continued monitoring of sanitary conditions. On Sunday the facility resumed operations and began shipping salad mix and leafy greens to the United States.

On Aug. 9, the had firm halted shipments to the United States after they were linked to outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, an infection caused by ingesting food or water containing the Cyclospora parasite.

The bug sickened at least 535 people in 19 states. Investigations in Iowa and Nebraska traced the illness to a salad mix supplied by Taylor Farms de Mexico to Olive Garden and Red Lobster, restaurant chains owned by Darden Restaurants Inc .

It is unclear whether the same salad mix was responsible for illnesses in other states. The FDA said the last person to become ill with cyclosporiasis was on July 2.

Symptoms of the infection include watery diarrhea, vomiting and body aches. It is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Most people with healthy immune systems recover from the infection without treatment. Older people and those with weakened immune systems might be at higher risk for prolonged illness.

Taylor Farms is a family-owned company headquartered in Salinas, California, according to its website, and is North America’s largest supplier of processed fresh produce to the food service industry.

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