Recent parasite outbreak found in common produce items


Grown and Gathered Chef Michael Mitchell can cook just about anything.

He's been a chef for almost 20 years.

Mitchell has all his ingredients and produce just steps away in the organic-based store.

"Tons of tomatoes, squash, eggplants, herbs," Mitchell explained.

There's one rule for all to follow before any veggies hit the plate.

"We always wash it,” Mitchell said. “We always rinse thoroughly".

Especially this basil, an herb the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has on its watch list.

The CDC pointed out cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas were all subject to the cyclospora outbreak.

A parasite which can be transferred from feces of people and ultimately contaminate produce and water.

Adams County Health Department Environmental Health Supervisor Tony Dede explained there's a two sided prevention method.

One side deals with farmers.

"Are washing their hands before they're harvesting it," Dede said.

The other are consumers making sure they wash fruits and vegetables.

Dede explained produce like watermelon are crucial.

"Don't eat the rind of the watermelon but because you cut through the rind of the watermelon with a knife, you can take the contaminations from outside and push them onto the inside," Dede mentioned.

The CDC said symptoms of the parasite are watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and stomach cramps.

All medical issues which can be avoided by a simple rinse.

"Because the last thing I want to do feeding someone is get them sick," Mitchell explained.
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