Cantaloupe Recall Lawsuit Filed Over Salmonella Food Poisoning Injuries

A Texas woman is one of more than 300 people who have fallen ill as a result of salmonella food poisoning linked to recalled cantaloupes.

TruFresh faces another lawsuit over contaminated cantaloupe products distributed throughout the United States, which have been linked to a multistate Salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has sickened hundreds of individuals.

The complaint was brought by Tamy Dillon against the distributor, according to a press release issued by her attorneys, indicating that she suffered from severe salmonella food poisoning after eating contaminated cantaloupe at a Burleson, Texas restaurant, which became so severe that her cognitive skills began to decline, leaving her hospitalized for six days.

The food poisoning lawsuit is believed to be at least the fifth such complaint filed since a series of cantaloupe recalls were announced late last year, after the produce was linked to dozens of reported salmonella illnesses across multiple states.

While federal health officials continue to actively monitor the outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a salmonella outbreak investigation update in mid-December, indicating it has linked at least 302 salmonella food poisoning illnesses across 42 different states to the recalled cantaloupe. At least 129 individuals suffered illnesses severe enough to require hospitalization, which has resulted in at least four deaths.

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Cantaloupe Salmonella Food Poisoning Outbreak

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause serious or fatal infections. Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning typically occur within 12-72 hours after exposure, and can last from between four and seven days. Healthy individuals usually experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain after exposure; however, young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from serious or fatal complications.

In severe cases, the infection may travel into the bloodstream, which can result in life-threatening consequences, including infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis.

Officials began investigating a multistate salmonella outbreak in the U.S., after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) linked 63 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall and Oranienburg illnesses to cantaloupe products.

As a result of the investigations findings, the CFIA issued a cantaloupe recall for whole and cut cantaloupe products sold under the Malichita and Rudy brand names across five provinces in Canada.

Several Cantaloupe Recalls Announced in U.S.

U.S. officials then became aware of a rapidly growing number of salmonella poisoning infections in the country, and investigators used genetic testing to confirm the illnesses were caused by the same Salmonella strains that sickened those in Canada.

In response to the U.S. outbreak, TruFresh issued a cantaloupe recall in the U.S. on November 8, which impacted fresh fruit distributed under the brand name Malichita, and were labeled with PLU number 4050 printed on the sticker.

On November 22, TruFresh expanded the cantaloupe recall to include additional batches of fresh cantaloupes that were distributed under the brand name Rudy, which were labeled with the same PLU number 4050 printed on the sticker.

Several other distributors of contaminated Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes issued recalls in November, including Crown Jewels Produce and Pacific Trellis.

In the weeks that followed, several other recalls were announced for fresh-cut fruit products containing cubes or chunks of recalled Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes. A wide variety of clamshell, tray, and fruit medley products that included pieces of recalled cantaloupes were issued by ALDI, Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Company, CF Dallas, LLC, Freshness Guaranteed, Bix Produce, Kwik Trip, Inc., GHGA, LLC, TGD Cuts, LLC, and Stop & Shop. The products were distributed nationwide to several different stores, including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, among others.

Consumers may visit the FDA’s Salmonella outbreak investigation to review the complete list of whole cantaloupe and pre-cut cantaloupe product recalls that have been issued to date.

Officials indicate the investigation is still ongoing, and will update the public when more information becomes available.

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