Fresh Organic Basil Recalled Over Cyclospora Contamination Concerns

The herb was shipped to stores in 10 states by Shenandoah Growers

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Shenandoah Growers has recalled 3,240 units of fresh-cut, packaged organic basil because it may be contaminated with the parasite cyclospora.

The problem was found when a sample of the basil, which was imported from Columbia, was found to contain the parasite during a Food and Drug Administration routine test. No illnesses have been reported.

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The basil was packaged under the following brands: That’s Tasty, Shenandoah Growers by That’s Tasty, and Simple Truth. It was sold in plastic containers at Kroger, Schnucks, and other stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, according to the FDA.

The products were distributed to stores between Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, and are stamped with the lot codes PV40515 1034, PV40515 3034, PV40515 4034, and PV40515 3035.

Consumers are advised to throw away any recalled basil they have in their refrigerators or contact Shenandoah Growers for information on how to get a refund.

Shenandoah Growers also recalled organic basil from Columbia in November. In that case too, the herb was possibly contaminated with cyclospora.

Don Helms, vice president of marketing for Shenandoah Growers, told Consumer Reports that both the current recall and the one in November originated from a long-term supplier to the company. As a result of the first recall, Shenandoah Grocers temporarily suspended the supplier while an investigation was conducted. After negative test results, the supplier was reinstated. "Unfortunately, a routine FDA sample came back positive, so they are now permanently suspended," Helms says. "We are deeply disappointed."

Cyclospora is a type of protozoa, which is a tiny, single-celled organism. It is transmitted when people somehow ingest contaminated feces, typically through contaminated food or water. It can be spread only through human waste, unlike E. coli and salmonella, which can also be spread from animal fecal matter.

Cyclospora infection can cause severe abdominal pain, watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms can develop between two and 14 days. Though symptoms can be severe enough to send people to the hospital, it's rare for people to die from cyclospora infection.

Contact your physician immediately if you exhibit any of these symptoms because you’ll need antibiotics to fight cyclospora.

In the U.S., imported produce is a common source of cyclospora. CR food safety experts say there's no evidence that washing the produce will remove the parasite. Instead, for recalled products, they say it's safer to simply throw them out.


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The Details

Products recalled: Fresh-cut, packaged organic basil sold under the following brands: That’s Tasty, Shenandoah Growers by That’s Tasty, and Simple Truth. The container sizes are 0.25 ounce, 0.5 ounce, 0.75 ounce, 2 ounces, 3 ounces, 4 ounces, and 1 pound, with the lot codes PV40515 1034, PV40515 3034, PV40515 4034, and PV40515 3035.

The problem: The FDA has determined that this basil may be contaminated with cyclospora.

The fix: If you have any of this basil in your refrigerator, throw it away, even if you plan to cook with it, to be safe. Or contact Shenandoah Growers for information on how to obtain a refund.

Who to contact: Shenandoah Growers Consumer Response Center, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, EST, at 844-896-6939.

Editor's note: This article was updated to include a comment from Shenandoah Growers.

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Lisa L. Gill

As a dorky kid, I spent many a Saturday at the Bloomington, Ind., public library, scouring Consumer Reports back issues for great deals. Now, as a (much) bigger kid, that's still my job! Identifying products and services, especially in healthcare, that are safe, effective, and affordable—and highlighting those that aren't—is my top concern. Got a tip? Follow me on Twitter ( @Lisa_L_Gill)