According to U.S. health officials, individuals should avoid consuming pre-cut cantaloupe if the source is unknown. This is due to the increasing number of illnesses and recalls connected to a serious salmonella outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a total of 117 individuals across 34 states in the U.S. have become ill from eating contaminated cantaloupe. Out of these cases, 61 required hospitalization and two resulted in death. In Canada, there have been 63 more cases, 17 hospitalizations, and one death related to the same outbreak.
According to the CDC, the diseases are serious, with over 50% of those affected being admitted to the hospital. This includes individuals living in long-term care facilities and children in daycare.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended previous recalls of whole and pre-cut cantaloupes to now include Kwik Trip markets, Bix Produce, and distributor GHGA. These recalled products were also distributed to Kroger, Sprouts Farmer’s Markets, and Trader Joe’s stores in multiple states.
Due to the extent of the recalls and possible ambiguity regarding the origin of cantaloupes, health authorities advised consumers to exercise caution.
According to a statement from the FDA, if you are unsure if your cantaloupe, whether whole or pre-cut, is included in the recall, do not consume or use it and dispose of it.
The actual amount of individuals affected is possibly greater than the reported number, and the spread of the illness may not be restricted to states where cases have already been identified. It usually takes between three to four weeks to confirm if a sick individual is connected to the outbreak.
The majority of individuals who contract salmonella experience symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps between six hours to six days after consuming contaminated food. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. Certain groups, such as children, individuals over 65, and those with weakened immune systems, are more susceptible to severe illnesses caused by the bacteria and may require medical treatment or hospitalization.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group provides support for the Associated Press Health and Science Department. The AP is fully responsible for the content of their department.