Federal and state health officials are investigating a multistate, cross-border Salmonella outbreak linked to mangoes imported from Mexico, which may have sickened more than 100 people in the United States and Canada.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have not yet released any information about the outbreak or announced a recall, but California, Washington, and Canada have all reported illnesses linked to the same strain of Salmonella Braenderup. California reported 73 ill, Washington reported 6 ill, and Canada has reported 22 illnesses linked to contaminated mangoes.
“Preliminary data indicate that mango consumption is associated with an increase in the number of Salmonella Braenderup cases in California,” said California Department of Public Health spokesman Matt Conens on Monday. “As of today, there are 73 cases with this outbreak strain that have been confirmed.”
Of the patients who have been interviewed in California, 67 percent reported eating mangoes, according to Conens, but state officials said they have not yet identified specific mango brand or source yet.
Washington state spokesman Donn Moyer told Food Safety News that while state officials do not have a conclusive link between those ill with the outbreak strain and mangoes, it is very unusual to see such an uptick in illnesses with that particular strain. Washington state has not reported anyone sickened with the same strain of Salmonella since the end of July.
California health officials said they are coordinating with other states, CDC, and FDA, as well as Canadian health officials.
CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell told Food Safety News that, as of Tuesday, California was taking the lead on the investigation, but federal officials were likely to “move forward within a few days.” Russell estimated that there were approximately 101 illnesses so far linked to the outbreak and said that CDC would post an outbreak update as soon as more information is available.
“FDA is engaged in this investigation, which has been a fast-moving outbreak,” said FDA spokeswoman Patricia El-Hinnawy. “Once FDA became involved we began coordinating with the state of California, which is leading the investigation, to get up to speed on the progress of their investigation. Once we can examine the information the state has collected first hand, we can make decisions on our next steps.”
Over the weekend, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled Daniella brand mangoes that were sold in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon between July 12 and August 14. The fruit, which were sold individually, may bear a sticker reading PLU# 4959.
U.S.-based grocery store Giant Food also recalled the same mangoes this week, which they said were sold between July 12 and August 24 with the same PLU. In a statement, the company said it was aware of illnesses reported in Canada and told customers to toss out the fruit and bring their receipts for a full refund.
Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and a California-based produce distributor have also announced they are recalling the same fruit, but there is not yet information on which states the mangoes were shipped to.
Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, a common foodborne illness that can sometimes be life threatening, particularly to those with compromised or weak immune systems like small children, the elderly, or those undergoing chemotherapy.
Symptoms — which include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, and vomiting — can come on between 8 and 72 hours of consuming contaminated food. Anyone exhibiting symptoms and concerned they may have a foodborne illness should contact their healthcare provider.
This report has been updated to include information from Washington state, CDC, and FDA.Photo courtesy of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.© Food Safety News