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The CDC Says This Popular Grocery Item Could Be Linked to Illness

New reports of foodborne illness in six Midwestern states have prompted an investigation into bagged salads.
mixed greens

Just a few months ago, you were likely wondering if the produce you were purchasing at the grocery store was contaminated with coronavirus. Now, there's a new concern that bagged salads may be tainted with a microscopic parasite.

The CDC and the FDA made an announcement on June 19 warning consumers to avoid eating bagged garden salads from the following store brands: ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco. An investigation is underway for a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora, which is primarily spread by eating food (or drinking water) that has been contaminated with feces that contain the parasite.

Currently, people living in six Midwestern states—Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska—have become ill after eating one of the tainted bags of salad. While the true source of the outbreak is not yet known, it's clear that all of these store brands' bagged garden salads have been linked to causing the foodborne illness. The first reported illness was on May 11 and cases have persisted through June 14. (Related: These Are the Most Often Recalled Foods in America.)

Here's what the CDC and FDA know so far: At least 20 people who were sickened had shopped at Aldi, and 80 percent of those people reported purchasing bagged salad mix. Most reported that it was specifically the Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad.

Another 37 individuals who fell ill shopped at Hy-Vee, 43 percent of whom reported buying bagged salad. Those who were able to remember said it was the store's own brand of Garden Salad. An additional six people who contracted the foodborne illness shopped at Jewel-Osco, five of which said they purchased bagged salad, particularly the store's very own Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad. (Related: The Truth About Picking the Best Bagged Salad.)

Not all cases examined were linked to just these items, however, as of right now, this is the best lead public health and regulatory officials have. The CDC will continue to provide updates on the investigation as more information becomes available. In the meantime, if you live in those states listed above, avoid purchasing bagged lettuce from ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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