October 18, 2017

Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak Over According to CDC

The Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak linked to imported cucumbers has ended, according to the CDC. A total of 84 people in 18 states were infected with the outbreak strain of the bacteria. Seventeen people, or 28%, were hospitalized in this outbreak.

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The case count of the outbreak by state is as follows: Arizona (11), California (29), Colorado (2), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (9), Nevada (1), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (7), Virginia (3), and Wisconsin (2). Illness onset dates ranged from January 12, 2013 to April 28, 2013. The ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 89 years, with a median age of 27 years. Sixty-two percent of ill persons were female.

Public health officials used PFGE to identify the outbreak strain of the bacteria. Traceback and epidemiologic investigations linked the outbreak to the two firms that supplied the imported cucumbers: Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico. While no products were recalled in association with this outbreak, the FDA placed two Mexican cucumber suppliers on Import Alert. Their products cannot be imported into the U.S. unless they can demonstrate they are not contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

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Unfortunately, raw produce is responsible for most foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. A study released by the CDC earlier this year stated that leafy vegetables are responsible for 23% of all food poisoning illnesses in this country, and the broad produce category caused 46% of all foodborne illness outbreaks.

To help protect yourself and your family from outbreaks caused by fresh produce, follow the FDA’s advice on selecting and serving raw produce safely. For instance, never buy produce that is bruised or damaged, and keep produce refrigerated at all times. Keep produce away from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Always scrub produce skin with a brush under running water before slicing or preparing, even if you peel it before serving. Dry produce with a paper towel to further reduce bacterial contamination.

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