Cyclospora will do that: Cilantro shortage hits Illinois restaurants, grocery stores

In the produce aisle at a Round Lake Beach grocery store, Valerie Brown hesitated before plucking a bunch of cilantro from between the parsley and green onions.

cilantro.slugs.powell.10She’s used to paying 75 cents for a bundle of the leafy green herb, she said. Today, the price read $1.99.

Even that was better than last week, said Brown, who lives in Antioch. Her husband visited three grocery stores and couldn’t find a single sprig. Cilantro is her parakeets’ favorite food, so she put a bundle in her cart despite the sticker shock.

Grocery stores and restaurants in the area said they’ve been noticing the same higher-than-usual prices and tighter-than-usual supply since officials implemented a partial import ban on some cilantro imported from Mexico.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and state public health officials linked cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico to outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the U.S. in 2013 and 2014 and identified it as the possible cause of a 2015 outbreak, according to an import alert the FDA posted in July. About 40 percent of cilantro sold in the U.S. is grown in Puebla, said FDA spokeswoman Lauren Sucher.