October 26, 2016

FDA IDs Mexican Farm in Salmonella Cucumber Outbreak, Issues Ban

The U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) has identified the Mexican farm that produced the cucumbers linked to the deadly Salmonella outbreak and banned them. The FDA and the CDC continue to investigate the 31-state outbreak that has killed two people and sickened 416 others .

Salmonella in cucumbers at Red LobsterRancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. located in Baja, Mexico has been identified as the source of the cucumbers.  The import alert gives health officials the authority to prevent cucumbers from that farm from entering the country.

The U.S. distributor of the cucumbers, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego,  issued a recall for these dark green cucumbers, called “slicer” or “American” cucumbers, on September 4. A second recall was issued September 11 by Custom Produce Sales of  Parlier, California, which received cucumbers from Andrew & Williamson and sold them under the brand name Fat Boy.

Health officials have still not released a complete list of stores that sold them or restaurants that served them.Walmart, Savemart, Food 4 Less, Winco and Ralphs all carried the cucumbers before the recall. Red Lobster also served the cucumbers in salads.

These dark green cucumbers, which are about 7 to 10 inches long and about 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter, were sold in grocery stores in bulk bins with no individual packaging, labeling, or wrapping. Restaurants also served them.

That child and 417 other people suffered symptoms of a Salmonella infection including nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, a fever, headache, muscle pains, and vomiting. They reported onset of symptoms from July 3 to September 3. Health officials say illnesses that occurred after August 22, may not be recorded yet due to the lag time between onset of illness and diagnosis of infection.

Three strains of Salmonella Poona associated with this outbreak. Four state health departments – Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada, have isolated Salmonella from Andrew & Williamson cucumbers collected from various locations. The Nevada, Arizona and Montana health departments have all isolated outbreak strains from cucumbers collected from retail locations. And the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated one of the outbreak strains from cucumbers collected from the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility.

The CDC tested the outbreak strains to see if they respond to or resist antibiotics. All three strains respond to antibiotics, the agency said.

So far, at least 91 people have been hospitalized and two have died. Fifty-three percent of those sickened, who range in age from less than 1 year to 99 years old, are female. The median age is 17. Most of the illnesses, 52 percent, are children younger than 18.

By state the case count is as follows: Alaska (10), Arizona (72), Arkansas (6), California (89), Colorado (16), Hawaii (1), Idaho (14), Illinois (6), Indiana (2), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (20), Missouri (8), Montana (13), Nebraska (2), Nevada (9), New Mexico (22), New York (4), North Dakota (2), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (10), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (8), Texas (20), Utah (37), Virginia (1), Washington (15), Wisconsin (9), and Wyoming (4).


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