If you've been road tripping through the upper Midwest recently and stopped for snacks, you should be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been investigating a cluster of cyclosporiasis illnesses associated with recalled Del Monte vegetable trays from Kwik Trip/Kwik Star locations in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
As of July 5, 2018, the CDC updated their report on the Del Monte outbreak, noting 212 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people from those five states, all of whom reportedly consumed the vegetable trays. Seven of these people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.
Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a microscopic parasite. The parasite contaminates food or water, then when someone eats or drinks the contaminated item, they can develop the illness. While some people infected don't show symptoms, most people infected with Cyclospora develop diarrhea, with frequent or explosive bowel movements.
Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Those infected may also have vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days to a month or longer. In addition, the symptoms may seem to go away and then return.
The six ounce and 12 ounce vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip have been recalled by Del Monte, along with 28 ounce "small veggie trays" that contain broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery sticks, and dill dip that were distributed to Illinois and Indiana. The trays should not be available for purchase and since the "Best if enjoyed by" date of the trays was June 17, it's likely that most customers who purchased the trays no longer have them.
However, if you do have these trays, you should discard them immediately. Washing or cleaning food may not be enough to get rid of the Cyclospora parasite.
If you live in one of these five states and ate food from one of the recalled products, you should contact your healthcare provider if you have had diarrhea that lasted for more than three days. Even if your symptoms have gone away, they may return. You can also help the FDA gather more information about the outbreak.
Public health officials have not identified which of the ingredients in the tray is the vehicle for this outbreak; each of the items included in the product is under consideration. The investigation into the Del Monte outbreak is ongoing and the FDA is reviewing distribution and supplier information to see if they can track down the source.
For any inquiries, consumers may call the 24 hour Del Monte customer service line at 1-800-659-6500.