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Cyclospora Outbreak Grows, Questions Remain Unanswered

August 23, 2013 – Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported that a rare Cyclospora food poisoning outbreak linked to Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska had sickened more than 200 people in those states. However, authorities still haven’t been able to account for the 400+ illnesses reported in 20 other states around the country. Some experts say cracking the mystery could take weeks or even months, and there’s a good chance it will never be solved.

Cyclosporiasis Food Poisoning Update 8/27/13: Not all of the more than 600 cases involved in the recent Cyclospora food poisoning outbreak are related to each other, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week. “The preliminary analysis of results from this ongoing cluster investigation in Texas does not show a connection to salad mix, leafy greens, and salad mix components produced at Taylor Farms de Mexico,” the CDC said. Click here to learn more.

Free Cyclospora Food Poisoning Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Cyclospora food poisoning, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the contaminated food and we can help.

Health Authorities Grapple With Rare Cyclospora Food Poisoning Outbreak

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the years 2009 and 2010, there were 1,527 food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. that caused 23 deaths and nearly 30,000 illnesses. About half of these epidemics were linked to food products that were processed in one specific place. Of these, 48% came from restaurants and delis, while 21% were prepared in someone’s home. Other sources included grocery stores, carters, and institutional complexes such as prisons.

Darden, the company that owns both Olive Garden and Red Lobster, claims that it has an international team of 50 scientists and health professionals, 20 inspectors, and 18 managers who review how food is handled inside its more than 2,100 restaurants. In response to the recent Cyclospora outbreak, a spokesman for Darden said in an e-mail that the company has ‘increased resources’ for food safety, but did not elaborate on what these new resources may be.

Federal health authorities are still scrambling to figure out what got people in 20 other states sick with Cyclosporiasis, a rare form of food poisoning that spreads when people eat food or drink water that has been contaminated with feces. Signs and symptoms of Cyclosporiasis typically include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Intestinal gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever

Which States Have Been Affected?

As of August 23, the state-by-state breakdown of Cyclospora food poisoning illnesses associated with this outbreak are as follows:

Texas (257), Iowa (156), Nebraska (86), Florida (31), Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), Arkansas (10), New York City (7), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), Kansas (4), Louisiana (3), Connecticut (2), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (3), New York (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (2), California (1), New Hampshire (1) Tennessee (1), South Dakota (1), and Wyoming (1).

The vast majority of people included in these numbers fell ill at least a month ago, but it could take much longer to determine the source of the outbreak.

“Sometimes they’re not able to come to a conclusion,” said Christopher Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.

Tracing the source of the outbreak involves cooperation between federal and state health authorities, who must scour records from hundreds of different companies. This exhaustive process also involves interviewing victims, who are sometimes unclear about what they ate and when. Officials are also being extra cautious in order to avoid a repeat of 2008, when the FDA first blamed a salmonella outbreak on contaminated tomatoes before realizing that peppers imported from Mexico were the cause.

Do I Have a Cyclospora Food Poisoning Lawsuit?

The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Cyclospora cases in all 50 states.

Free Cyclospora Food Poisoning Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Cyclosporiasis, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a If you or a loved one was injured by food poisoning caused by a Cyclospora food poisoning suit and we can help.

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