Number sickened from Salmonella tainted cucumbers passes 550

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Williamson fresh produce Health care Health

Three deaths have been reported associated with the outbreak
Three deaths have been reported associated with the outbreak
The number of people sickened by an outbreak of Salmonella linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico has jumped to more than 550.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Salmonella Poona has sickened 558 people from 33 states, with three deaths and 112 people hospitalized.

The agency said 52% are children younger than 18 years.

Three deaths have been reported from Arizona, California and Texas.

FDA names Rancho Don Juanito as probable source

Investigations have identified cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source.

FDA traceback investigation found Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. in Baja, Mexico was the primary source of cucumbers shipped to Andrew & Williamson.

FDA said most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most recover without treatment

The agency issued an updated Import Alert to include cucumbers from the company based on finding Salmonella through import sampling.

It said produce is of special concern because it is often eaten without further treatment to destroy or remove pathogenic microorganisms.

In an earlier statement, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce said as soon as it became aware of the issue from health officials it ceased all harvesting and packing operations at the facility and recalled product.

“We are currently conducting a thorough evaluation of our cucumber farming and packing operations to determine if we can find the root cause of how this might have happened. We are looking at all control processes and completely scrubbing and cleaning the facility.

“We want to get to the bottom of this as much as anyone.”

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses range from July 3 to September 11 and ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 16.

Strains isolated at retail and plant

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services have isolated one of the outbreak strains from cucumbers at retail.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated one of the outbreak strains from cucumbers collected at the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility.

Custom Produce recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting August 1 earlier this month because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

On September 4, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label from August 1 to September 3.

There has also been a recall in Canada but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not reported any related illnesses.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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