It is not company policy to test for cyclospora, Taylor said. However, a cyclospora testing program is now in place at the Mexican facility until further notice.
Taylor said even though FDA does not have authority in Mexico, the company invited the agency to inspect the plant in 2011, which it did. The assessment of the facility and operation was outstanding “with no notable issues” according to the statement on Taylor Farms’ website.
In June, Taylor Farms De Mexico produced and distributed about 48 million servings of salads to thousands of restaurants in the Midwest and eastern U.S., according to the company website. The facility produces about 2 million salads daily
Courtesy Taylor FarmsBruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms, Salinas, Calif., said this facility in Mexico was built six years ago and includes the latest food safety technologies and operations protocols.The investigation
FDA’s investigation has not implicated consumer packages sold in grocery stores, according to the agency’s Aug. 6 update. FDA officials did not immediately responded to questions about the outbreak or investigation.
A total of 504 people nationwide had been confirmed with the parasitic infection as of Aug. 7, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal officials say they do not know if all of the outbreaks are related or what other sources of the parasite could be involved.
However, because of the extended duration of cyclospora infection symptoms — three months to a year without medication — sick people are continuing to seek treatment and tests are confirming a growing number of infections. Iowa officials first reported infections of the single-celled parasite in late June.
The CDC reports confirmed cyclospora infections in: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. Thirty people have been admitted to hospitals with the infection.
Officials with Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden also did not answer questions regarding where the salad mix was distributed or whether its other restaurant banners received it.
“We have been fully cooperating with the FDA, as well as the Iowa and Nebraska Health Departments ... We respect their findings and will continue to work with them on this matter,” said Darden communications director Rich Jeffers.