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Health

Multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melons

5 cases confirmed in Illinois, linked to Indianapolis

The FDA is now reporting that 60 Salmonella illnesses in five different states are under investigation.  The illnesses are believed connected to pre-cut melons packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers, and shipped from distributor Caito Foods in Indianapolis. 

Caito has voluntarily recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and any mixed fruit products that contains at least one of those three fruits.  Whole melons are not included in this recall.

The reported illnesses have occurred in eight different states, including five cases confirmed in Illinois (none in Will County).  The other affected states are Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri.  The pre-cut melons had also been shipped to Kentucky, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Although the original report first connected these melons to have been purchased from Walmart, it is recommended that all retailers and consumers discard any pre-cut melon products shipped from Caito Foods between April 17 and June 7.

Will County Health Department Environmental Health Director Tom Casey says there are two sources of information that can help consumers determine if they have pre-cut melons that may be dangerous.

Mixed Fruit Products that include fresh cut watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon are among those recalled by Caito Foods.

“If you still have the receipt, check the date of your purchase,” Casey said in a news release.  “Then, simply look at the label and see if it lists Caito Foods as the distributor.” 

And, if you have already discarded the label and receipt and have pre-cut melons in your refrigerator, Casey said you should get rid of the product immediately as a precaution.  “As we always say, ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’”

According to a news release from The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois cases range in age from 23 to 87 years and have been reported in all regions of the state. Therefore, it is recommended that people not eat pre-cut melon from Walmart stores

Most people affected by salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after eating food contaminated by the bacteria. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

However, diarrhea for some people may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

The CDC has indicated there have been more hospitalizations with this outbreak than what is typically seen. The elderly, infants, and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

So far only pre-cut melons have been linked, but it’s important to remember food safety measures if you buy whole melons.

• Make sure to wash the melons before you start cutting.

• Make sure you’ve washed your hands and all utensils, knives and cutting boards

• Don’t let fresh fruits and vegetables come into contact with raw meat.

For more information on this recall, visit https://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/outbreaks/ucm610301.htm or call 844-467-7278.

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