Several major grocery chains have recalled the cantaloupes associated with the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that has sickened 178 people in 21 states. So far, WalMart, Schnucks, Meijer, and Marsh have pulled the recalled cantaloupes from their shelves. Kroger has pulled cantaloupes recalled by Burch Farms for Listeria.
The cantaloupes, produced and processed by Chamberlain Farm Produce Inc. of Owensville, Indiana, were shipped from June 21, 2012 to August 16, 2012. The farm started recalling the cantaloupes on August 17, 2012. The outbreak is likely to grow because of this long time frame. Cities that are affected by this outbreak include Lousiville, Lexington, and Owensboro, Kentucky; Chicago, Aurora, and Rockford, Illinois; Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and South Bend, Indiana; Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and Independence, Missouri.
One of the problems with this outbreak and recall is that while cantaloupes are usually marked with stickers naming the growing area, the webbed surface of the fruit will cause sticks to fall off. It’s important that consumers ask where the cantaloupes they are purchasing came from. Stores must have that information and will tell you when you ask.
Fred Pritzker, national Salmonella attorney, is calling on the CDC to name the facilities that received the cantaloupe. “Consumers have the right to know if the stores they frequent may have sold the cantaloupe implicated in this outbreak,” he stated. Pritzker, who recently won $4.5 million for one of his food poisoning clients, represents Salmonella victims throughout the United States.
According to the epi curve, the CDC is expecting at least 31 more cases in this particular outbreak. But remember, since food poisoning illnesses are very underreported, the government uses a multiplier to estimate the actual number of illnesses. For Salmonella, that multiplier is 30.3. So there are actually almost 5,400 people sickened in this particular outbreak.
It’s crucial that anyone who is suffering the symptoms of Salmonella, including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, see their health care provider immediately. If you are diagnosed with a Salmonella infection, tests can determine if you are part of this particular outbreak. Some people become so ill that they need to be hospitalized. And the long-term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be severe, including reactive arthritis. More than 50% of the interviewed patients in this outbreak have been hospitalized, which means the strain is virulent.