MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Health officials in Wisconsin and Minnesota have linked nearly two dozen cases of Cyclospora to contaminated veggie trays sold at Kwik Trip gas stations and that number is only expected to rise.
“Every single person that I’ve talked to has purchased this tray, veggie tray from Kwik Trip, to eat a little healthier,” said Ryan Osterholm, a food safety attorney.
Osterholm's most recent clients got really sick after consuming Fresh Del Monte Produce veggie trays purchased at Kwik Trip gas stations in either Wisconsin or Minnesota. Tests show people became infected with the parasite Cyclospora, which causes an intestinal illness.
The veggie trays, either six or 12 ounces in size, likely contained contaminated broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and dill dip. All of the trays have since been pulled from the shelves.
“This produce is contaminated in the field or immediately after harvesting with fecally contaminated water,” said Osterholm.
So far, Wisconsin's Department of Health Services confirms at least 20 Cyclospora cases. Officials say they're in the process of interviewing more people who may have been affected. Several cases have also been confirmed by Minnesota’s Department of Health. As both departments continue to investigate, officials expect more people will come forward after formal testing. Osterholm tells Fox 9 some may not know why they are sick because doctors don’t normally test for Cyclospora unless they have reason to believe a person may have been exposed to the parasite.
“That number is going to get much higher,” said Osterholm. “The folks that I have talked to, and I represent, most of them are not part of that number and so I expect the number associated with Kwik Trip Cyclospora outbreak is going to be much, much larger very soon.”
Osterholm so far has 15 clients who remain ill after exposure to Cyclospora by way of the Fresh Del Monte Produce veggie trays. He says just in the last day, his office received ten calls from others who have tested positive for Cyclospora after eating from the trays.
“Diarrhea, vomiting, people can’t keep anything down, can’t get out of bed,” he said.
With such severe symptoms, those affected have not been able to go work.
“Unfortunately, until you get on this very specific antibiotic those symptoms can last for a long time, perhaps even a month or two,” said Osterholm.
Fox 9 has reached out to Fresh Del Monte Produce for comment, but has yet to hear back.