Salmonella in Cantaloupes Sickens Dozens in 15 States: Health Officials

Salmonella in Cantaloupes Sickens Dozens in 15 States: Health Officials
In this photo illustration a cantaloupe is seen sliced open in Miami, Florida on Sept. 29, 2011. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says certain whole and pre-cut cantaloupes are linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in 15 states.

At least 43 people in 15 states have been infected in the salmonella outbreak, with 17 people hospitalized, the CDC announced Nov. 17. No deaths have been reported.

According to the investigation, whole and pre-cut cantaloupes and pre-cut fruits from Malachite, Vinyard, and ALDI have been recalled.

Here are the following recalls:
  • Malachite brand whole cantaloupes from Mexico, sold in stores between Oct. 16 and Oct. 23.
  • Vinyard cantaloupe chunks and cubes, fruit mixes, melon medleys, and fruit cups containing cantaloupe sold in Oklahoma stores between Oct. 30 and Nov. 10.
  • ALDI cantaloupe, cut cantaloupe, and pineapple spears sold in clamshell packaging, with best-by dates between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31. These products were sold in ALDI stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin
The recalled fruit was sold at stores in Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, and Canada. The cantaloupes may have reached consumers through retail markets in other states.

Consumers who have the recalled fruits are urged to throw them away immediately. It’s also important to wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come into contact with it.

Investigators are working to identify any additional cantaloupe products that may be contaminated.

The CDC declared the outbreak a few days after Canadian officials reported an outbreak of eight confirmed cases in British Columbia. Both outbreaks involve the same strain of salmonella detected in Malichita brand cantaloupe imported from Mexico.

Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC said that the number of people sick in the outbreak is likely much higher than those reported and the outbreak may not be limited to those 15 states, since many people recover from Salmonella without medical care and are never tested.

It typically takes three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of an outbreak.

Most people infected with salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within six hours to six days after consuming food contaminated with the bacteria, according to the CDC.

Most recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days. Vulnerable people, including children under 5 years old, people older than 65, and those with weakened immune systems could experience a more severe infection that requires medical care or hospitalization.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

Health officials estimate that salmonella bacteria cause approximately 1.35 million human infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths annually in the United States.

Other Recalls

In September, the Food and Drug Administration announced the recall of thousands of cantaloupes sold in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Eagle Produce LLC from Scottsdale, Arizona, initiated a voluntary recall of 6,456 cases of whole cantaloupes after the fruits were tested in a distribution center by the FDA.

The cantaloupes were distributed from Sept. 5 to Sept. 16 in various supermarkets in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.

The recalled products include Kandy Produce whole cantaloupes with the UPC number code 4050 and lot codes 797901, 797900, and 804918, according to the FDA.

As of Sept. 27, there have been no reported illnesses in connection to the recall, the FDA said.