The source and cause of the outbreak is still unknown, according to FDA’s Sept. 25 update on the investigation.
The CDC reported 701 people in 14 states became sick in the outbreak, and the FDA determined salads that were processed at the Fresh Express’ Streamwood, Ill., plant were involved, including salads sold under private-label brands. The salads contained iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrots, but the FDA eliminated carrots as a potential cause during the traceback investigation.
As of July 17, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported 38 cases of cyclospora infection relating to the Fresh Express recall.
The investigation led the FDA to a Florida regional water management canal west of Port St. Lucie. The agency is still working with Florida’s agriculture department and the water district.
“Given the emerging nature of genetic typing methodologies for this parasite in foods and in environmental samples,” the FDA hasn’t determined a genetic match, so it couldn’t determine the source.
“However, the presence of Cyclospora in a canal that had previously supplied irrigation water in the region, and specifically to a farm identified in the traceback, suggests the need for a collaborative effort by state, federal and industry partners to better define the scope of the contamination and identify appropriate risk mitigation measures,” according to the FDA update.