Salmonella linked to cucumbers sickens more than 400

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Williamson fresh produce, Health care

Cucumbers from Mexico sicken over 400 in USA
Salmonella linked to cucumbers has sickened more than 400 and killed two people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency said 418 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona come from 31 states, an increase of 77 cases since an update last week.

A total of 91 people have been hospitalized and there have been two deaths from California (1) and Texas (1).

Traceback investigation

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

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1 through September 3.

Custom Produce Sales recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting August 1.

Unlabeled cucumbers packed into a black reusable plastic container, and sold in Nevada since August 1 are part of the recall on September 11. Cucumbers were sent to Custom Produce Sales from Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said cucumbers supplied by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce were grown in Baja, Mexico.

Canada has also issued a recall of certain cucumbers but has not yet reported any illnesses.

The type of cucumber recalled is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green in color. Typical length is 7 to 10 inches.

In retail locations they are sold in a bulk display without individual packaging or plastic wrapping.

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates from July 3 to September 3.

Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median of 17. 52% are younger than 18 years.

Outbreak strains isolated

The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services isolated one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona from cucumbers collected from retail locations.

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

Andrew & Williamson said it is doing ‘everything possible to learn if it is responsible’ and how it could have happened.

As soon as we received information from health officials that our product may be the source of this outbreak, we took immediate action to cease all harvesting and packing operations at this facility and to recall product from the market," ​the firm said in a statement.

“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.

“The health and welfare of consumers is our highest priority and we spend millions of dollars on food safety at A&W. We want to get to the bottom of this as much as anyone.”

Related topics: Food safety and labeling

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