Cantaloupe Recall Leaves Two Dead, Dozens Hospitalized With Salmonella Poisoning

Nearly one hundred illnesses and at least two deaths have been linked to Salmonella contaminated cantaloupe distributed throughout the U.S.

Federal health officials have linked a multistate Salmonella food poisoning outbreak to cantaloupe products sold across the U.S., which have caused dozens of individuals to suffer severe enough illness to require hospitalization, including at least two fatal infections.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Salmonella outbreak investigation on November 24, indicating the agency is aware of at least 99 salmonella infections caused by contaminated cantaloupe across 32 states, including 45 hospitalizations and two deaths.

As the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to actively monitor the outbreak, individuals are being instructed to stop consuming Malichita brand and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes or pre-cut fruit products containing recalled cantaloupes.

Cantaloupe Salmonella Food Poisoning Outbreak

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause serious or fatal infections. Symptoms usually occur within 12-72 hours after exposure, and can last from between four and seven days.

While healthy individuals exposed to Salmonella may only experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, those with weakened immune systems, young children, and the elderly face a risk of severe or fatal complications.

In severe cases, the infection can travel into the bloodstream, and result in severe health consequences, including infected aneurysms, endocarditis, or arthritis.

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U.S. officials began investigating a multi-state salmonella outbreak in the U.S. after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) linked 63 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall and Oranienburg illness linked 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.

FDA Announces Cantaloupe Recalls Impacting Multiple Brands in U.S.

The FDA and CDC have become aware of a rapidly growing number of illnesses linked to recalled cantaloupe products. In the CDC’s initial update on November 17, the agency stated it was aware of 43 illnesses across 15 states. However, as of November 24, an additional 56 illnesses have now been reported, including 28 new hospitalizations and two new deaths, spanning across 17 additional states.

In response to the U.S. outbreak, Sofia Produce, LLC, doing business as TruFresh, issued a cantaloupe recall in the U.S. market on November 8, which impacted all sizes of its fresh cantaloupes distributed under the name brand Malichita over potential Salmonella contamination concerns. The fruits were packaged in cardboard containers with Malichita brand labels, and PLU number 4050 printed on the sticker.

On November 22, TruFresh expanded its cantaloupe recall to include additional batches of potentially contaminated cantaloupes that were distributed under the brand name Rudy. They were also packaged in cardboard containers with Rudy brand labels, and the same PLU number 4050 printed on the sticker.

Several additional recalls have been issued in recent weeks, including a Crown Jewels Produce recall for whole cantaloupes under the Malichita brand, a CF Dallas, LLC recall for fresh-cut fruit products containing Malichita cantaloupes, and a Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Company recall for products like cantaloupe chunks, cubes, and mixed fruits that include the recalled cantaloupes.

An ALDI cantaloupe recall was also issued for all whole Malichita cantaloupes, cantaloupe chunks, and pineapple spears due to potential salmonella contamination. The potentially contaminated products were sold at ALDI stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin between October 27 and October 31, 2023.

As a result of the severe food poisoning risks from the recalled canteloupe, the CDC is instructing consumers to immediately discard any of the fruits they may have purchased, and to thoroughly wash any items or surfaces that may have come in contact with the fruit. Consumers should also contact their healthcare provider if they experience any symptoms of Salmonella infection.

Officials stated the number of illnesses is expected to grow over the coming weeks, as the average time for illnesses to be reported is typically three to four weeks. The CDC indicates that any additional details or subsequent recalls impacting other products will be released to the public as soon as they become available.

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