State health officials are warning Minnesotans to stay away from certain pre-packaged salads being sold at two grocery store chains.
That's because of an outbreak of an intestinal infection caused by the parasite Cyclospora. So far, it's sickened 13 people in Minnesota — one of six states currently seeing cases of the illness.
The Minnesota cases have been linked to store-brand garden salads from ALDI and Hy-Vee: the Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad and Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad, respectively.
According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota cases first popped up on June 1 and continued to appear through June 9, with patients ranging in age from 24 to 79. Two were from the Twin Cities metro area, and the rest were from Greater Minnesota.
None of the patients had to be hospitalized, the release notes.
MDH advises consumers not to eat these salads and to throw them away if they're already in their fridges. The agency again noted that this applies only to the store brands labeled "garden salads," and that other varieties are not affected.
Hy-Vee has recalled the salads in question, but it's not clear yet if ALDI has also done so.
Cyclospora infections, which are caused by a parasite, are spread through consumption of fresh produce. MDH says that not even washing or "routine chemical disinfection or sanitizing methods" are likely to remove the parasites from produce.
Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss, with people typically becoming ill about a week after exposure.
The CDC notes that infections are typically not fatal.
Cyclospora outbreaks are also being reported in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.