More patients have been identified in the Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe. The outbreak is now spread across 42 states. Mexican officials have closed the implicated cantaloupe operation.
Since the most recent update, on Dec. 7, another 72 patients have been confirmed, bringing the total number of sick people to 302; in a related outbreak in Canada, there are 153 sick people and six deaths.
Of 263 people interviewed so far in the United States, half have been hospitalized. Four people have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak strains of Salmonella are particularly virulent as the pathogen generally does not cause such a high percentage of hospitalizations.
According to Thompson Reuters news service, Mexico’s government said Friday it temporarily closed a cantaloupe processing plant while investigating the source of Salmonella contamination.
Mexican health officials said they ordered the temporary suspension of activities at the plant in the northern state of Sonora after two visits, in which they took samples from surfaces and water, the results of which are pending.
The patient count in the United States continues to rise even though cantaloupe recalls covered fruit past its expiration date. There is some concern that consumers may have frozen recalled cantaloupe for future use. The CDC is urging people to avoid eating pre-cut cantaloupe.
See the list of recalled cantaloupe below.
Confirmed outbreak patients started becoming sick on Oct. 16, with the most recent patient confirmed becoming ill on Nov. 28.
“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak,” according to the CDC.
At least 40 patients resided at long-term care facilities when they got sick. Of 17 interviewed, 11 reported eating cantaloupe. Thirty children attended childcare centers when they got sick. Of 26 children with information available, 17 ate cantaloupe.
The age range for patients is less than 1 to 100 years old. The outbreak is hitting young children and older adults particularly hard, with 26 percent of the patients being five years old or younger and 48 percent being 65 years old or older.
Several recalls have been initiated. They include whole cantaloupe and various pre-cut products, some with cantaloupe mixed with other fruits.
Recalled whole cantaloupe from the following brands are:
- Whole fresh cantaloupes with a label on the cantaloupe that says “Malichita” or “Rudy,” “4050,” and “Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique.”
- Retailers and wholesalers would have received recalled whole melons from Sofia Produce doing business as TruFresh in boxes labeled “Malichita” or “Rudy,” or from Crown Jewels Produce in boxes labeled “Malichita/Z Farms,” or from Pacific Trellis in corrugated cartons with specific lot codes.
Recalled pre-cut cantaloupe and products containing pre-cut cantaloupes made from recalled whole cantaloupes are:
- ALDI cantaloupe cut cantaloupe and pineapple spears in clamshell packaging with Best-by dates between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31 and sold in IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, and WI.
- Vinyard cantaloupe chunks and cubes, fruit mixes, melon medleys, and fruit cups containing cantaloupe. Most have a “Vinyard” label, and some have a red label with “Fresh” sold between October 30 and November 10 in Oklahoma stores.
- Freshness Guaranteed (sold at Walmart stores) seasonal blend, melon trio, melon mix, fruit blend, fruit bowl, seasonal fruit tray, fruit mix, and cantaloupe chunks; and RaceTrac fruit medley sold in clear square or round plastic containers. Recalled products were sold at select retail stores in IN, MI, OH, KY, NC, TN, VA, IL, TX, and LA (see recall announcement for lot codes and “best by” dates).
- KwikTrip 6-oz mixed fruit cup, 6-oz cantaloupe cup, and 16-oz fruit tray distributed to Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Stop-N-Go, Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery, and Tobacco Outlet Plus convenience stores in WI, MN, IA, MI, IL, and SD.
- Bix Produce 5.75-oz Created Fresh! Cantaloupe Grab N’ Go fruit cups, Created Fresh! Grab N’ Go mixed fruit cups, and Jack & Olive mixed fruit cups are sold in MN, ND, SD, and WI.
- GHGA pre-cut products containing cantaloupe are branded as Sprouts Farmers Market Trader Joe’s, and unbranded products are sold at Kroger. Recalled products were distributed to Kroger stores in AL and GA, Sprout’s Farmers Market stores in AL, GA, NC, and SC, and Trader Joe’s stores in AL, FL, GA, SC, and TN (see recall for lot codes and “sell-by” dates).
- Cut Fruit Express Caribou Coffee Fruit Mix CHPG 6.5oz and Cut Fruit Express-brand of 6.5oz, 15oz, 16oz, 32oz packages of Fruit Mix containing cantaloupes. This recall also includes food service packages of cantaloupe chunks and fruit mixes containing cantaloupe.
- TGD Cuts, LLC fresh-cut fruit cup, clamshell, and tray products containing cantaloupe.
- Stop & Shop
Truefresh Cantaloupe was purchased between Oct. 23 and Nov. 11, 2023, in CT, NJ, and NY.
A related outbreak in Canada involving cantaloupe from the same supplier in Mexico. Recalls there also include pre-cut products.
As of Dec. 15, there have been 153 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall, and Oranienburg illness linked to this outbreak, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Of the patients with the information available, 53 have been hospitalized. Six patients have died.
Patients became sick between mid-October and late November. Individuals who became ill are between less than 1 to 100 years old. Most individuals who became sick were children five years or younger, 35 percent, or adults 65 years or older, 44 percent.
Malichita and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes from Mexico appear to be the problem and have been recalled in the United States and Canada. However, additional recalls of fresh-cut cantaloupe products — including mixed fruit products — are also under recall because they contain cantaloupe of the Malichita and Rudy brands. A list of recalled cantaloupe products can be found by searching for the word “cantaloupe” on this website.
About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any cantaloupe and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
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