"Federal authorities are struggling to explain why 600 people in 22 states have fallen ill from a foodborne parasite rarely seen in the United States.
But some officials are ready to finger one culprit that has hindered their investigation: the sequester.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had to slash $285 million at a time when food and health experts say disease detection needs more funding as these type of food outbreak cases become more complex and widespread.
The current outbreak, caused by a single-cell parasite known as Cyclospora, is a case in point. About 250 consumers in Nebraska and Iowa got sick after eating at Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and their illnesses were linked to a salad mix produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico. But another 250 Texas residents who are sick with the same bug have no link to the product. On top of that, about 100 consumers are reportedly ill in 19 other states and there is no clear link between them.
The investigation has been dragging on for two months, and frustration is building."