Federal authorities say they know the source of tainted salad mix that has sickened more than 200 people in Nebraska and Iowa since mid-June. However, they are now investigating if it's linked to 200 additional cases in 14 other states.
The parasite cyclospora has left 22 people hospitalized with intestinal infections. The Food and Drug Administration says the illnesses in Nebraska and Iowa were caused by contaminated pre-packages salad supplied by Taylor Farms de Mexico and served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants.
"The FDA's investigation into the other states may take some time", said Caroline Smith-Dewaal, food safety expert. "This could be one outbreak where the trace back isn't complete yet, or it could be multiple outbreaks and FDA is still tracking down all of the food sources."
Taylor Farms of Mexico says it is cooperating fully with the FDA in their ongoing investigation. In a statement released over the weekend the company said, "It assesses and tests all water sources, raw product fields; every lot, every day for any risk to our valued customers' products. We are redoubling and enhancing our testing and scrutiny in these areas to further assure food safety."