The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 1, 2013

Outbreak widespread, source unknown

The associated press
The Clinton Herald

---- — LINCOLN, Neb. — Food safety advocates are sounding an alarm at the lack of information being disseminated about an enduring intestinal illness tied to prepackaged salad that has sickened nearly 400 people nationwide.

The outbreak of the rare parasite cyclospora has been reported in at least 15 states, and federal officials warned Wednesday it was too early to say it is over.

But if you’re looking to find out exactly where it came from, you may be out of luck.

Health officials in Nebraska and Iowa say they’ve traced cases there to prepackaged salad. They haven’t revealed the company that packaged the salad or where it was sold, explaining only that most if not all of it wasn’t grown locally.

The lack of information has fueled concern from consumers and others who argue companies should be held accountable when outbreaks happen and customers need the information about where outbreaks came from to make smart food choices.