A multistate outbreak of Cyclospora illness has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate recalled Del Monte vegetable trays.

What’s the Problem?

An intestinal parasite outbreak has sickened 212 people since May of this year. Last month, Del Monte recalled its 6 ounce and 12 ounce vegetable trays which had been sold with a dill dip, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. But it still continues to wreak havoc.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis linked to the vegetable trays on June 15. Various stores in Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have already taken the product off their shelves. Del Monte issued a recall for its “small veggie trays” sold in Illinois and Indiana, which included celery as well.

What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora is a human parasite that causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. Some of the symptoms can reoccur and continue for months after it has passed. It is unlikely that cyclosporiasis is passed from one human to another. As is typical for illnesses, children and elderly folks are more likely to experience the brunt end of the side effects.

The most common symptoms and side effects of cyclosporiasis are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Increased gas
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Both vomiting and a low-grade fever are possible side effects, though they are less common.

Precautionary measures

Initially on June 8, Del Monte withdrew the veggie trays from retail market locations. It should no longer be available for purchase. However, those products may still be in the refrigerators of consumers who are unaware of the recall.

Stores that carried the affected veggie trays were:

  • Kwik Trip
  • Kwik Star
  • Demond’s
  • Sentry
  • Potash
  • Meehan’s
  • Country Market
  • FoodMax Supermarket
  • Peapod

Consumers or retailers who suspect they have one of the recalled veggie trays should immediately discard the product to avoid the potential for infection.

Del Monte is one of the country’s leading producer and distributor of prepared fruits and vegetables. Most consumers are probably familiar with the red, white and yellow logo which sells products in convenience stores and supermarkets.

If you have any concerns about contracting cyclosporiasis, you are encouraged to contact the FDA to issue a report. Reporting adverse side effects from consuming foods and beverages is imperative for the agency to localize and prevent an outbreak from localizing elsewhere. (www.fda.gov/fcic)