October 22, 2016

Canadians Given More Cucumber Recall Info Than Americans

Cucumber Salmonella OutbreakSame company. Same product. But in Canada, where Andrew & Williamson cucumbers are also being recalled, consumers got information they haven’t in the U.S. – a complete list of stores where the recalled cucumbers were sold and a PLU number identifying the cucumbers.

The cucumbers are being recalled in conjunction with an outbreak of Salmonella Poona that has killed two people, sickened 341 and hospitalized 70 in the U.S. Investigators used epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations to identify cucumbers from Mexico distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego as the  likely source of the outbreak.

Four state health departments -Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada, isolated Salmonella from the company’s cucumbers collected from various locations. Nevada’s tests showed the strain isolated from a cucumber collected from a retail location matched one of the three outbreak strains.

On September 4, Andrew & Williamson issued a recall in the U.S. for cucumbers sold from August 1  and September 3. The recall included a description of the “Limited Edition Pole Grown Cucumbers,” often referred to as a “Slicer” or “American” cucumbers as dark green,  7 to 10 inches long and 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter. It also included a list of states where it had been distributed. It didn’t include a product number or a complete list of stores and restaurants where the cucumbers were sold.

Contrast that with three cucumber recalls posted on Canada Health’s website. The first, from Safeway posted September 6,  recalled “field cucumbers and various in-store produced products that contain cucumbers purchased from Safeway.”  A PLU 4062 was included.

The second, from Overwaitea Food Group posted September 8, recalled “field cucumbers purchased from Save On Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Coopers Foods, Overwaitea, and Freson Brothers” wuth the PLU 4062.

The third recall posted September 9,  lists other stores where the cucumbers were sold. Good idea.

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