13/04/19: 93-case Salmonella outbreak brings recall of many melon products

In response, Caito Foods has recalled fresh cut watermelon, fresh cut honeydew melon, fresh cut cantaloupe and fresh cut mixed fruit containing one of these melons, produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Carrau.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 4, 2019, to March 31, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than one to 98 years, with a median age of 53. Fifty-seven per cent are female. Of 53 people with information available, 23 (43 per cent)) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Thirty (77 per cent) of 39 people interviewed reported eating pre-cut melons purchased from grocery stores, including pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or a fruit salad mix or fruit tray with melon. Four additional people reported eating pre-cut melon outside the home.

Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicates that Caito Foods LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods, Inc. recalledExternal pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Others infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhoea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Reports of illnesses linked to these products are under investigation, and Caito Foods is voluntarily recalling the products out of an abundance of caution. The company has been advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it has linked 93 illnesses to the strain of Salmonella under investigation. Caito Foods has temporarily suspended producing and distributing these products as the company and the FDA continue their investigations.

The products were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers and distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. A full list of recalled products, including the brand, product label, and retailer where sold, is included below. Caito Food and SpartanNash Company supply to independent retailers, so it is important to look at the label description and brand information to identify the product.

Because it is possible that products could still be on store shelves, this recall extends to both retailers and consumers. Consumers should not consume the product and should promptly dispose of any remaining product.

The potential that these products are contaminated with Salmonella was discovered through information gathered by state departments of public health.

Retailers and wholesale customers should check their inventories and shelves to confirm that none of the products is present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories.

This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Products included in the recall can be found by following this link to the Caito announcement.

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