By E.J. Mundell
SATURDAY, April 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Pre-cut, packaged melon distributed by major grocery chains across 16 states have been tied to an outbreak of salmonella illness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.
The outbreak has so far involved 93 cases of Salmonella Carrau illness, including 23 cases so severe the patients required hospitalization, although no deaths have been reported, the FDA said in a statement.
"Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of salmonella and has been historically seen in imported melon," the agency noted.
All cases were linked to the consumption of pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon "packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers under several different brands or labels." They were sold at grocery chains such as Kroger, Target, Trader Joes, Walmart and Amazon/Whole Foods.
The tainted melons were distributed by Caito Foods LLC from its facility in Indianapolis, with cases being diagnosed between March 4 and March 31. So far, cases have cropped up in nine states: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
"Upon learning that this outbreak is likely linked to pre-cut melon from a Caito Foods' facility in Indiana, the FDA began working with the company and retailers to promptly recall the product and prevent further exposure to consumers," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas.
"We are continuing to aggressively investigate the source of the product in order to determine where the melons were sourced from and how they became contaminated," he said. "As our investigation unfolds, we're advising consumers to take action now by discarding any implicated pre-cut melon product that may still be in their fridge or freezer."
Because the Caito melon products were sold at various supermarket chains, different labeling might be seen on the recalled products, the FDA noted. Here's a list to check if you have the recalled pre-cut melon in your refrigerator, from:
"If consumers have any of the recalled product they should dispose of it or return the product for a refund," the FDA said.
In the meantime, watch out for the signs of salmonella illness and see your doctor if they arise, the agency said.
"Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that typically develop within 12 to 72 hours of exposure and last for about 4 to 7 days," the FDA noted.
The 16 states where the Caito pre-cut melons were distributed are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
There's more on salmonella at foodsafety.gov.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, statement, April 12, 2019
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