U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is pressing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for specifics about the investigation of the cyclospora outbreak linked to product sold by Fresh Express.
In an Aug. 3 letter her office released to the media, DeLauro said she wrote the letter “out of concern about the current outbreak of cyclosporiasis as well as the transparency and timeliness of your agency’s ongoing investigation.”
“Although once rare in the United States, parasitic outbreaks caused by cyclospora have become more common over the last several decades,” she said in the letter. “Many of these outbreaks have continually been found to be associated with imported fruits and vegetables.”
The recent outbreak is currently responsible for 395 infections — including 16 hospitalizations — across 15 states.
In her letter, DeLauro expressed concern about the timeliness of FDA’s response.
“Earlier last month, several Midwest state public health departments announced investigations linked to salad consumed at McDonald’s,” DeLauro said in the release. “However, it was not until July 26 that the FDA completed analysis showing that an unused package of product distributed to McDonald’s by the supplier, Fresh Express, was contaminated with cyclospora.”
She noted that between July 27 and July 30, Fresh Express notified Caito Foods LLC that they had received recalled product, prompting the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to issue a July 30 public health alert on beef, pork and poultry wraps distributed by Caito Foods.
“This timeline of events does not instill confidence that the FDA has acted within the best interests of consumers in order to get potentially contaminated product out of the marketplace,” DeLauro said in the letter.