Olive Garden, Red Lobster Owner Says Salad in Texas Safe to Eat

Company says produce served in Texas is not from farm linked to outbreak in Iowa, Nebraska

The owner of two restaurant chains linked to an outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Iowa and Nebraska says the produce in its Texas restaurants comes from a different supplier.

More than 400 people in 16 states, including more than 157 people in Texas, have been sickened by cyclospora this summer. The cause of the cyclospora outbreaks in the other 14 states, including Texas, has not been determined.

"It is not yet clear whether the cases reported from other states are all part of the same outbreak," the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

The salad mix linked to the Iowa and Nebraska outbreaks was traced to Taylor Farms de Mexico, the Mexican branch of Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms. It was served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in those states.

Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, says that produce from Taylor Farms de Mexico was not served in Texas. The produce served at Darden restaurants in Texas comes from a California-based supplier and is grown in California, the company said.

Darden also owns Eddie V's and Seasons 52.

A Dallas woman who says she contracted cyclosporiasis after eating salad at an Addison Olive Garden filed a lawsuit Friday against Darden.

Tarrant County is investigating 34 cases of the parasite. Dallas County is investigating 30 cases, and Denton County is investigating 20 cases. Collin County has 21 confirmed cases and has eight cases that are being investigated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that it was looking at Texas cases that occurred in June and July. Investigators are also checking to make sure infected people did not travel outside of the United States and Canada within two weeks being sickened.

In some previous cyclospora outbreaks, the cause was never discovered, federal officials say.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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