Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Traced to Cucumbers

Cucumbers shipped to restaurants and grocery stores have been recalled after being linked to 341 Salmonella Poona cases in 30 states, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The cucumbers, known as “slicer” or “American” cucumbers, are shipped in black, green, yellow, and craft colored cartons labeled Limited Edition Pole Grown Cucumbers. The cucumbers are typically 7 to 10 inches long with a diameter of 1.75 to 2.5 inches, United Press International (UPI) reports. The cucumbers are sold in stores in a bulk display, without individual or plastic wrapping. In restaurants, they are typically used in salads.

Salmonella infections can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after ingestion of the tainted food. The illness typically lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment, the CDC reports. But in some people, especially the very young, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, the illness can be serious enough to require hospitalization. The infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and other parts of the body, requiring treatment with antibiotics.

Federal and state health authorities identified clusters of people made ill in separate geographic areas and worked to trace the distribution of the food they ate back to a common supplier. The results of the investigation indicate that Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, of San Diego, Calif., was the common supplier of cucumbers that were eaten by the people in these illness clusters.

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce issued a recall for all of its Limited Edition cucumbers shipped from August 1 through September 3 after the FDA confirmed the Salmonella cases were linked to the cucumbers, according to the CDC.

The CDC reports that as of September 8, 2015, 341 people were infected with strains of Salmonella Poona in 30 states. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3). Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015.  Seventy people have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported, one in California and one in Texas.

“The safety and welfare of consumers is the highest priority for our company,” said Fred Williamson, president of the company said in a news release. “We are taking all precautions possible to prevent further consumption of this product and are working to learn if and how these cucumbers are involved in the ongoing outbreak.”


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