CDC Urges Caution as Contaminated Cantaloupe Sickens Dozens in the U.S. and Canada
A concerning salmonella outbreak tied to contaminated cantaloupe has swept across 34 U.S. states, leaving at least 117 people ill, 61 hospitalized, and two dead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the outbreak also affecting Canada, health officials issue a nationwide warning, emphasizing the dangers associated with consuming pre-cut cantaloupe of unknown origin.
The severity of the illnesses is alarming, with over half of the infected individuals requiring hospitalization, including vulnerable populations such as residents of long-term care centers and children in day care, reports the CDC.
The source of the outbreak has prompted expanded recalls, with Kwik Trip markets, Bix Produce, and distributor GHGA implicated. Recalled products have been distributed to major retailers, including Kroger, Sprouts Farmer’s Markets, and Trader Joe’s across several states, as confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Given the broad scope of the recalls and potential uncertainty about the cantaloupe’s source, health officials stress the importance of caution. The FDA issued a statement advising consumers, “If you cannot tell if your cantaloupe, including pre-cut cantaloupe or products containing pre-cut cantaloupe, is part of the recall, do not eat or use it and throw it away.”
The outbreak’s actual impact might be more extensive than reported, as it takes three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of the outbreak. Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, typically manifesting within six hours to six days after consuming contaminated food. While most cases last four to seven days, vulnerable individuals, such as children and those with weakened immune systems, may experience severe illnesses necessitating medical care or hospitalization.
As health authorities work to contain the outbreak, consumers are urged to exercise vigilance and avoid pre-cut cantaloupe of unknown origin, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the safety of this widely consumed fruit.