The FDA has not found the source or a cause of the outbreak of cyclospora infections from linked to Fresh Express and private-label garden salads. ( Courtesy FDA )

The Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into an outbreak of cyclospora infection from Fresh Express garden salads led the agency to Florida, where the parasite was found in a canal.

The FDA, however, was unable to determine if the Cyclospora cayetanensis in the canal was a genetic match to the 690 cases in 13 states linked to the salads, according to an Aug. 14 update on the outbreak. The Public Health Agency of Canada had reported 37 cases as of July 8.

The traceback investigation led the FDA to several farms that may have supplied the carrots, red cabbage and iceberg lettuce in the salads. The agency investigated multiple farms, according to the update.

Carrots have been cleared; the lettuce and cabbage continue to “be items of interest,” according to the FDA.

In Florida, the FDA analyzed water from two public access point along a regional water management canal west of Port St. Lucie, according to the FDA.

Given the emerging nature of genetic typing methodologies for this parasite, the FDA has been unable to determine if the Cyclospora detected in the canal is a genetic match to the clinical cases, therefore, there is currently not enough evidence to conclusively determine the cause of this outbreak,” according to the update. “Nevertheless, the current state of the investigation helps advance what we know about Cyclospora and offers important clues to inform future preventive measures.”

The FDA is working with the local water district to determine the source and effects of the parasite in the canal.

The traceback investigation is complete, but it didn’t identify a cause or source, so the investigation continues, according to the FDA.

The Fresh Express and private-label bagged garden salads in the recall were processed at the salad company’s Streamwood, Ill., facility.

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