Over 546 people have been sickened by bagged salad products containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots due to Cyclospora contamination. According to the Illinois Department of Health, “the outbreak appears to be ongoing” and there is a 3-6 week lag between exposure to Cyclospora and confirmation of an outbreak.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are investigating the same Cyclospora outbreak in Canada, also linked to Fresh Express products. There are over 37 cases in Canada to date.
Fresh Express’ Streamwood, IL facility has recalled branded and private labeled bagged salads with a Product Code beginning with the letter “Z” followed by the number “178” or lower.
Restaurant managers should check their inventory with the recall list. Fresh Express products are commonly used in some restaurants. Products were sold in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, under either the brand name Fresh Express or the following store brands:
Also today, after four months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its 10-year blueprint called New Era of Smarter Food Safety. Restaurant owners who want to print the PDF for reading can download it here.
The FDA’s YouTube announcement focuses on technological solutions to contamination tracing and artificial intelligence systems to monitor food safety. Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn says that the Blueprint is “the next stage” of the Food Safety Modernization Act which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2011.
Today’s Blueprint is “a commitment we are making to the American people that we will work as fast and effectively as we can, as fast and effectively as we can, to help ensure that we have the safest food system in the world,” according to Dr. Hahn.
There are four “core elements” of the Blueprint:
The FDA has assigned two senior executives as leaders of each of the four Core Elements, plus one implementation lead, composing nine leaders in total.