There's a bad batch of salad mix going around right now — over 350 people have gotten sick in 15 different states — but we, the public, have no idea which brand of salad mix is to blame. And there's a law making sure we don't find out.
145 people in Iowa have gotten sick, and the Iowa Department of Health knows exactly what is making folks ill: It's a mixture of iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. But, according to ABC News:
“Because the vast majority of illnesses occurred in mid-June and the limited shelf life of fresh produce, IDPH [the Iowa Department of Health] and DIA [Department of Inspections and Appeals] determined the implicated salad mix was no longer in the Iowa food supply chain,” the department said. “Thus, there is no ongoing threat to the public health which would require the identification of a particular brand, store, or restaurant where the salad mixture was available. In addition, these sites could not have taken any action to prevent contamination of the mixture since it came pre-packaged and ready-to-eat.”
It's not just Iowa! In Nebraska, 78 cases of food poisoning were tied to salad mix. And the Nebraska Department of Health also declined to name the brand of greens. Confidentiality laws or whatever.
But this salad mix — contaminated with cyclospora — is all over the damn place:
More than 370 people have contracted the stomach bug in 15 states, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The source of the infection in states other than Nebraska and Iowa remains unclear. Those states are Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.
Cyclospora is a parasite, and infection causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, stomach cramps, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade fever. (Wait, weight loss? Add it to the list!) The infection can be cleared up with antibiotics, but as this report points out, "without treatment, the symptoms can linger for months." MONTHS! PLEASE TELL US THE NAME OF THE PARASITE-RIDDLED MYSTERY SALAD.
The CDC is being kind of vague about the whole thing; as the Washington Post reports:
“It’s too early to say for sure whether it’s over, and thus too early to say there’s no risk of still getting sick,” said María-Belén Moran, spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And in a quote from the Post, Whole Foods shopper Laura Flanagan basically sums up how we feel:
"I can’t say I really want to go and buy particularly any lettuce right now."
New memes: Women crying with salad. Women vomiting with salad. Women shitting themselves with salad.
UPDATE: The salad mix was served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants and was grown in Mexico.