Oh, romaine, we hardly had time to eat ye after the recent E. coli outbreak officially ended back in May. Now, the beloved salad green has found its way into controversy again as part of a recall involving parasites in salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe's, Walgreen's, Kroger, and other grocery stores, the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) said in an alert on Monday.
All of the affected products were distributed by Caito Foods, LLC, which was made aware of the problem when its supplier, Fresh Express, notified the company that some of the chopped romaine lettuce in its wraps and salads had been recalled. Those products include Trader Joe's Caesar Salad With Chicken, Tarragon Chicken Salad Wrap, and Chinese Inspired Salad With Chicken with "best by" dates between July 21, 2018 and July 23, 2018. According to a recall announcement from Trader Joe's, the products were only sold in certain states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
At this point, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall. But the FSIS says, "Illnesses might not have been reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. For Cyclospora infections this could take up to six weeks."
For a full list of affected products from the FSIS, click here, and you can find the accompanying labels here. Note that this alert only includes these products—it does not include romaine lettuce you'd buy on its own at a grocery store or romaine that you'd get at a restaurant. But if you do have any of the products involved in the recall, the FSIS advises that you throw them out of return them at the place of purchase.
The recalled products may be contaminated with cyclospora, a microscopic parasite that's also responsible for other current outbreaks.
Cyclospora was also implicated in the outbreak linked to McDonald's salads and to Del Monte Fresh vegetable trays this summer, although there isn't currently evidence to suggest the outbreaks are connected. According to the CDC, it's not unusual to see cases of cyclosporiasis to increase during the spring and summer months when temperatures rise.
As SELF wrote previously, the symptoms of cyclospora infection usually start about a week after the parasite is ingested. Those symptoms include gastrointestinal issues like watery diarrhea, a loss of appetite, cramping or bloating, fatigue, and nausea. In some cases, people may also have a low-grade fever, but that's not common.
Luckily, the illness is usually mild and doesn't require treatment. In more severe cases, it can be treated with antibiotics. But we're guessing you'd still prefer to avoid getting sick. So if you've purchased any of the recalled products, follow the advice from the FSIS and get rid of it. If you think you have any symptoms of cyclosporiasis, check in with your doctor, especially if your gastrointestinal symptoms last longer than three days.