Packaged salad: Possible cause of stomach bug outbreak

    10:53 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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    CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) - There's a food warning that THV 11 wants to tell you about on something that many of us buy to make our meals easier to prepare.

    We're talking about pre-packaged salad kits, and they're apparently causing a nasty stomach bug right now around the country. There's one case in Arkansas but health officials say it's not tied to the salad. Still, they are monitoring the national situation closely.

    It was a Wednesday night grocery run at Knight's for Mindy Gamache and her kids, and packaged salad is off their list.

    "Staying clear until I know it's completely resolved and they know exactly what caused it and what company," shopper Mindy Gamache said.

    She's concerned after a national outbreak of a stomach virus called Cyclospora. There have been close to 400 cases reported so far across the country. The apparent culprit is a bagged salad mix.

    "I had a scare with my mother possibly but she proved not to have it thankfully," another shopper Sue Grimsley said.

    Grimsley said that her mom had some symptoms of Cyclospora, which include prolonged diarrhea, cramping and nausea.

    "It gives you something about, yeah," Grimsley said.

    "You just want to know what it is, so if you do have it, you can get it out," Knight's produce manager Mark McNew said.

    McNew said that while there's been no recall yet, the store will be notified if one comes.

    "At that point in time, we are to pull the product, destroy it," he said.

    For now, McNew said that if you buy any of pre-packaged salad mix, you should wash it first.  

    "Even with bagged salad, I would recommend that once you open it, just rinse it off real good with some clean water," McNew said.

    He also said not to eat it if the item smells bad or there are rust spots on the lettuce.

    As for Gamache, she's bought bagged salad before.

    "My kids love salad and all kinds of fruits and vegetables," Gamache said.  

    But for now, she's sticking with the head of lettuce our camera caught in her cart.

    "Just to be on the safe side, yes," Gamache said.

    As for the Arkansas case, which is not tied to the salad, it's not clear yet what the person ate. But again, state health officials are keeping an eye on this nasty bug.

    While a specific brand of salad has not been issued yet, CNN reports that in states like Iowa and Nebraska, the mix has included iceberg and romaine lettuce as well as carrots and red cabbage.

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