A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo at the agency's federal headquarters in Atlanta. Credit: David Goldman | AP

Now it’s a certain pasta salad that consumers shouldn’t be eating.

Consumers should avoid a spring pasta salad sold in 244 of Hy-Vee grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to federal health officials. Of the 21 people who have been sickened thus far by salmonella infections linked to the salad, five have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Salmonella infection is a common bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps in people 12 to 72 hours after exposure. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. In some instances, the diarrhea can be so serious that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Children and older adults and people with weak immune systems are more likely to develop serious illness.

The company recalled its spring pasta salad on Tuesday. The recalled food was sold in 1-pound and 3-pound plastic containers or may have been scooped at the deli counter into clear plastic containers, according to a food safety alert issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The expiration date range is between June 22, 2018, and Aug. 3, 2018.

Even if the salad was eaten and no one got sick, the CDC is urging consumers to throw any leftovers out. If consumers stored the recalled pasta salad in another container, they should throw the pasta salad and thoroughly wash the container with warm, soapy water before using it again, to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food.

The salad includes shell pasta, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green pepper, onion and mayonnaise.

Officials said the illnesses started between June 23 and July 3. But it takes an average of two to four weeks between the time when someone gets sick and the illness is reported. Illnesses that occurred after July 1 might not yet be reported. Those who have been sickened range from ages 5 to 89, the CDC said, and most are female. Iowa and Minnesota have the most reported illnesses so far.

This latest report of a food-borne outbreak follows a warning to consumers to avoid eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal because of a salmonella outbreak that has infected 100 people, including at least 30 who have been hospitalized. Cases have been reported in 33 states.

In spring, the largest outbreak of E. coli in more than a decade was linked to tainted romaine lettuce. Five people were killed and more than 200 were infected in three dozen states.

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