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Supplier of cyclospora contaminated greens stops production

The company linked with the outbreak of cyclospora in Nebraska and Iowa, Taylor Farms de Mexico, has stopped production and shipments of the salad greens that are believed to be the source of the illness. By the August 9, more than 500 cases of cyclospora have occurred in 18 states, including some in Minnesota. Texas has had the highest number of infections, as 215.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked the salad greens and the cyclospora cases to four Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. Taylor Farms de Mexico was the common supplier, as both restaurant chains are part of Darden Restaurants. Taylor Farms de Mexico indicated that it would cease operations until the received FDA approval. The restaurants identified were located in Nebraska and Iowa, the states were second and third in the number of people infected with cyclospora.

Oddly, the company announced they were "very confident of our Mexico operation." One wonders how much worse the situation would have to be, before they would indicate that they were concerned. 

Industrial agriculture, with massive distributions systems, enables food to be sold cheaply. It however, also allows defective products to be sent nationwide, infecting hundreds or thousands of people.

While no one has died in this case, unlike the incident of contaminated peanut butter that resulted in nine deaths, but thirty-two people have been sent to the hospital. While the companies issue bland press releases with empty confidence, more cases of the infection continue to be uncovered.

If quality and safety are such important issues, how do people become ill from eating their products?

Source: CBS News, "Taylor Farms de Mexico halts salad production amid cyclospora outbreak," Ryan Jaslow, August 13, 2013

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