Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce has issued a formal voluntary recall of their Limited Edition® brand imported pole grown cucumbers as a result of a large multi-state Salmonella outbreak. The recall is dated September 4, 2015, and the FDA dated the notice September 5, 2015, but the public was only notified about the formal recall posted on the FDA’s site today, September 8, 2015.
At least 285 (or 291, according to Arizona’s case count) people in 27 states are sick with Salmonella food poisoning after eating these cucumbers. The recall is for all of A&W Fresh Produce sold from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015. A&W is cooperating fully with public health officials to solve this outbreak.
The outbreak has been going on since July 3, 2015. That is when the first person reported getting sick. If you ate cucumbers during the month of July and have been sick with the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, see your doctor.
The FDA recall states that “A&W is currently working with health authorities to determine if, in fact, this product is the source of an outbreak of Salmonella with illnesses being reported in as many as 27 states.” But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the outbreak is “linked to imported cucumbers”, and states that “Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak.”
Furthermore, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated Salmonella from cucumbers collected during a visit to the A&W facility. DNA fingerprinting is being conducted now to determine the PFGE pattern of that bacteria.
A&W is halting all harvesting and packing of cucumbers that may be linked to this outbreak until the investigation is complete. They have also contacted all customers who may have received this product so they can be pulled from shelves and not used in restaurants and food service operations.
The Limited Edition® cucumbers were produced in Baja California (which is in Mexico; according to the CDC they were produced in Mexico by Rancho Don Juanito) and distributed in 22 states. Those states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
The case count outbreak by state is: Alaska (8), Arizona (60) [66 according to the Arizona Department of Health Services], Arkansas (6), California (51), Colorado (14), Idaho (8), Illinois (5), Kansas (1), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (12), Missouri (7), Montana (11), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (15), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), South Carolina (6), Texas (9), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (9), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3). The illness date range is from July 3, 2015 to August 26, 2015. More illnesses will likely be reported, since the lag time between onset of illness and reporting can be 2 to 4 weeks.
The recalled cucumbers are about 7 to 10 inches long, dark green, and about 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter. They were most likely sold in bulk bins in grocery stores with little or no identifying marks or labels. In restaurants, they were most likely sold in salads.
The grocery stores that are A&W customers and where the cucumbers may have been sold include Save Mart Supermarkets, Sam’s Club, United Supermarkets (which includes Amigos, Albertsons, Market Street, and United Express), Albertsons, H-E-B, Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, Costco, US Foods, and Fresh & Easy. So far, Walmart, WinCo Foods, Food4Less (which includes Ralphs), Kroger, and the distributor US Foods have posted information about the recall on their web sites. The restaurants that may have served the cucumbers include Red Lobster, In-N-Out Burger, The Capital Grille, and Olive Garden. We don’t have the store distribution list yet from the FDA, so we don’t know which exact stores may have sold the produce.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, muscle aches, headache, and fever. If you ate cucumbers and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor.