red lobster

When folks go to Red Lobster on a diet, it’s hard to stay away from the Cheddar-Bay biscuits and extra-creamy New England clam chowder (I think they put crack in the biscuits; no, not really, but I don’t know how RL gets them so fluffy and buttery). Usually dieters will load up on a salad with some of that mystery shrimp or some other protein selection. Well, that may not be the best healthiest option anymore.

According to the FDA, a Mexican salad mix served at Iowa and Nebraska Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters contained parasites that cause a severe stomach virus called cyclospora.

Cyclospora infections have been reported in more than 16 states, sickening at least 400 people. In Iowa and Nebraska alone, at least 220 people reported cyclospora infections this summer. Investigators are unsure if the infections in other states are tied to Darden restaurants or Taylor Farms salads.

Rich Jeffers, a spokesman for Orlando, Florida-based Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, said it has been more than a month since the last case was reported in Iowa and Nebraska. The shelf life of the salad is about two-weeks.

“We are fully confident along with health officials that in those states the product is out of the supply chain,” Jeffers said.

The states reporting cases of stomach illness are: Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.

Cyclosporiasis is most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Symptoms for the illness, caused by ingesting contaminated food or water containing a parasite too small to be detected without a microscope, include nausea, watery diarrhea and body aches.

Most people with healthy immune systems recover from the infection without treatment, but the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are believed to be at higher risk for prolonged illness.

michelle obama

Back in 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama teamed up with Darden Restaurants to improve its menu, adding more salad options to the heavy carbohydrate and fatty selections. It’s safe to say, there was no gourmet salad cheffing going on in those restaurants like the above press opt purports …

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