At least 12 people in Missouri are now part of the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak that has killed two people, sickened more than 140 others in 21 states and hospitalized 32, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The number of confirmed cases in Missouri has increased by three since the outbreak was announced on Friday.
As Food Poisoning Bulletin reported today, this outbreak is the third to be linked to cantaloupe in the last 19 months. Last year, the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., sickened at least 146 people and more than 30 people died. “We need appropriate control measures and the industry hasn’t delivered,’’ national food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker said in a press release today. “How many more people have to die before we address the hazard?’’
The cantaloupes associated with this outbreak were grown in southwestern Indiana. Public health officials are advising consumers to check the origin of cantaloupes before they make a purchase and not to purchase or eat cantaloupe from southwestern Indiana. Retailers including Krogers, Marsh, Meijer, Schnucks and Wal-mart (Walmart) have all removed cantaloupe from store shelves. But an official retail distribution list has not yet been released by public health authorities.
In their initial report of the outbreak on Friday, federal authorities said two people had been killed, 31 had been hospitalized and a total of 141 people in 20 states had been sickened with by-state totals as follows: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2). SInce then, three cases have been added in Missouri and one case was reported in a new state, West Virginia. That case patient was hospitalized for six days.