HEALTH ALERT: Fresh Express salad products recalled for potential link to parasite illnesses

Credit: Fresh Express

Credit: Fresh Express

After an outbreak that has caused more than 200 illnesses in the Midwest, Fresh Express has recalled Fresh Express brand and several private-label brand bagged-salad products that were sold in retail stores throughout Ohio and 28 other states because the products may be contaminated by the Cyclospora parasite.

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The recalled products  contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, or carrots, and they were sold under either the brand name “Fresh Express” or store-brand labels such as ALDI Little Salad Bar, Walmart Marketside, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry.

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The recall includes salad products marked with the letter “Z” at the beginning of the product code, followed by the number “178” or lower, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, which are investigating the illness outbreak.

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The recalled products were produced in an Illinois facility and distributed between June 6 and June 26 to retail stores throughout Ohio, as well as in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia, federal health officials said.

Credit: Fresh Express

Credit: Fresh Express

A full list of the recalled products is available at

Health officials advised consumers and restaurant owners to not eat, sell, or serve recalled salad products, and to throw any remaining salad away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick.

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So far, 206 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections and who reported eating bagged salad mix before getting sick have been reported in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11 to June 17. Health officials said 23 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

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“Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak,” the FDA said in a release.

The Cyclospora parasite can cause Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal infection with symptoms that include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, body aches and fatigue. The infection is treated with antibiotics and most people respond quickly to treatment, health officials said.

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