National News

Salmonella Outbreak That Sickened 60 Is Linked to Pre-Cut Melons

Posted June 9, 2018 4:57 p.m. EDT

A salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens of people last month has been linked to pre-cut melons from a food distributor in Indianapolis, spurring a recall of products in eight states.

Packages of fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and mixed fruit have been recalled in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. An investigation is underway to see if other products or states were affected.

So far, 60 people have been sickened by the outbreak — 32 were in Michigan — and at least 31 people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. No deaths have been reported.

Officials said pre-cut melons distributed by Caito Foods, which is based in Indianapolis, were the likely source of the outbreak.

In a statement, the company said it was “voluntarily recalling the products out of an abundance of caution” and had stopped producing or distributing the affected products while the investigation is underway.

“Because it is possible that products shipped between April 17 and June 7, 2018, could still be on store shelves, this recall extends to both retailers and consumers,” the company said.

The affected products were in clear plastic containers and distributed to stores including Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Walgreens and Trader Joe’s.

Healthy people who contract salmonella can usually recover without treatment after a few days of fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Some cases require hospitalization and the illness can be fatal.

The CDC estimates that salmonella infections — the vast majority of them from food — cause about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths every year in the United States.

This year, more than 200 million eggs were recalled after a salmonella outbreak was traced to a farm in North Carolina. Another outbreak in the Midwest, traced to chicken salad from an Iowa food processing company, made at least 265 people sick and led to one death.