Nebraska health officials have identified prepackaged salad mix as the source of the state's cyclospora outbreak, which has sickened 78 people since mid-June.
The investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services also shows the salad mix, which includes iceberg and romaine lettuce along with red cabbage and carrots, came through national distribution channels. Locally-grown produce is not part of this outbreak.
DHHS and local health departments are currently working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify exactly where the contamination came from along the food production chain and where the product was distributed.
Nebraska public health officials believe the bulk of the contaminated salad mix already worked its way through the system due to limited shelf-life.
Cyclospora is a rare parasite that causes a lengthy gastrointestinal illness. Fresh vegetables and fruit are usually associated with outbreaks. People become sick when they consume food contaminated with the parasite. Washing fruits and vegetables is always recommended but it can be difficult to wash cyclospora off all types of produce.