SlicedCucumberMain1At least 275 people in 29 states and Washington, D.C., were sickened and one man died in a Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers grown in the Delmarva region of Maryland, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Friday. This is the first public mention of the outbreak, which occurred between May 20 and Sept. 30, 2014. CDC began investigating the outbreak in August, when a cluster of Salmonella Newport illnesses showed up on PulseNet, the national database of transmittable diseases. Salmonella with that particular genetic code last appeared on PulseNet in an outbreak from 2006-2007 linked to tomatoes grown in the Delmarva region of Virginia. Thirty-four percent of patients were hospitalized. One elderly man was diagnosed with bacteremia and died. After CDC and local and state health officials traced the infections back to cucumbers grown at a farm in Delmarva — several months after harvest — they began testing soil and manure samples but couldn’t find any remaining contamination. However, investigators did learn that the farm applied poultry litter approximately 120 days before harvest. Historically, this genetic variety of Salmonella has only been associated with tomatoes grown in the region, with outbreaks occurring in 2002 (333 cases), 2005 (72), 2006 (115), and 2007 (65), with a suspected outbreak in 2010 (51). The exact source of the contamination, however, has eluded investigators. In the report, CDC said that the source of contamination “should be identified and mitigated to prevent future outbreaks.” Editor’s Note: This article originally reported that the cucumbers came from the Delmarva region of Virginia. That was incorrect. The contaminated cucumbers were grown in the Delmarva region of Maryland, while previous cases with the same Salmonella strain have been linked to tomatoes from the Delmarva region of Virginia.

  • Chad

    The Food Safety News article claims the cucumbers were from the Delmarva region of Virginia, but the CDC report linked to says the traceback was to Maryland.

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

      DelMarVa … Delaware, Maryland, Virginia … it all runs together on the peninsula.

  • Bill Pilacinski

    Why do we continue to see illness and death from the use of animal waste on fresh produce and why do the CDC and FDA continue to ignore this threat to food safety? Could it be the political power of the organic food lobby?

    • pawpaw

      Most farmers I know using poultry litter are not organic. Most organic produce growers I know are not using poultry litter, or any type of ‘animal waste’ to fertilize their crops. I visit these farms and encourage others to do the same.
      If the American public continues to make chicken the top meat consumed in the US, that increasing waste needs to be spread somewhere. Could save suburbanites some money on your lawn fertilizer, it’s slow release and it only smells until you water it in!

  • battleshiphips

    Was this an organic farm?

  • mareya

    Why is it that the news just became public? I find this so irresponsible. We need to inform consumers of these outbreaks when they happen so they can take action. In addition, we need to enforce food safety education for families everywhere. If they’re getting sick from the food that’s supposed to keep them healthy, what has our industry accomplished?

  • mommy

    this was not a organic it was a widly used gm manufacturing company and it is a bad case.