Almost 20 people have fallen sick in an Australian state with baby cucumbers suspected as being the source of infection.

The Western Australia (WA) Department of Health has linked 19 illnesses to Qukes brand baby cucumbers supplied by Perfection Fresh. The grower has not been named but production of cucumbers has stopped.

Sick people range in age from less than 1 year old to someone in their 60s. Three children have been hospitalized. Patients reported consuming baby cucumbers in the seven days before illness onset.

Other health departments around the country are looking into the situation but no related illnesses have been reported.

Company Response
On Dec. 30, WA Health revealed the Salmonella typhimurium outbreak strain had been identified in a pack of Qukes baby cucumbers purchased from a Perth supermarket on Dec. 23 with a best-before date of Dec. 24. It is understood additional product testing by the agency has not found any more positive results for Salmonella.

Perfection Fresh said 40 tests of products from production sites were negative for Salmonella. This included testing retention samples from the same batch with a best-before date of Dec. 24.

Andrew Redman, Perfection Fresh chief technical officer, said: “We commenced an immediate and thorough investigation to try and identify any potential sources of contamination that may have compromised baby cucumbers. Initial investigations into current systems and practices on our production sites did not identify any potential sources of contamination.”

The company’s food safety and quality teams have reviewed existing processes to confirm the correct systems are in place and have upped routine product and environmental testing for Salmonella.

“As a precautionary measure we have implemented increased sanitation measures and comprehensive testing of baby cucumbers to reassure consumers that baby cucumbers remain a safe, delicious, and nutritious product to eat,” said Redman.

“In all testing, we have undertaken since this issue emerged we have not been able to detect Salmonella in any sample or within our facility. We will continue with comprehensive testing of all baby cucumbers for the foreseeable future to ensure the safety of our consumers.”

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