Safe & Healthy: Cucumbers contaminated with Salmonella

recall_cukesThere is a national recall of cucumbers on-going due to Salmonella contamination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Food and Drug Administration and several states, is investigating an outbreak of illness from Salmonella Poona linked to contaminated cucumbers. A total of 285 cases of illness have been reported in 27 states; additional illnesses have been reported in 5 Canadian provinces. There has been one death reported and 53 hospitalizations linked to this recall. The majority of illnesses, 54%, have been in children younger than 18 years of age.

 

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak.

  • 58 (73%) of 80 people interviewed reported eating cucumbers in the week before their illness began.
  • Eleven illness clusters have been identified in seven states. In all of these clusters, interviews found that cucumbers were a food item eaten in common by ill people.
  • The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated Salmonella from cucumbers collected during a visit to the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility.

On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The type of cucumber is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green in color. Typical length is 7 to 10 inches.  Cucumbers involved in the recall were not shipped directly to Wisconsin, but wholesalers may have distributed the fruit to Wisconsin – there have been two cases of infection in Wisconsin linked to the outbreak. Cucumbers were shipped to neighboring states of Minnesota and Illinois, and both states have reported illnesses linked to the outbreak.

If you aren’t sure if your cucumbers were recalled, ask the place of purchase. When in doubt, don’t eat, process, or serve the contaminated fruits → Throw them out! Domestically produced cucumbers are not included in this recall.

Every year, Salmonella is estimated to cause one million illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths . Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more detailed information on SalmonellaStay food safe! Barb