Salmonella in cucumbers? Salmonella in produce at Chipotle? Aren’t eggs and poultry the usual suspects when it comes to Salmonella outbreaks?
While it’s true that Salmonella is often found in eggs and poultry, produce is the most common source of Salmonella outbreaks, according to a recent study. Almost 40 percent of Salmonella outbreaks that occurred between 2008 and 2012 were attributed to some kind of produce, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department ofAgriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS). Of those, seeded vegetables accounted for 18 percent; fruits, 12 percent and sprouts 8 percent for a combined total of 38 percent.
Produce can become contaminated by irrigation water, fertilizer or animal contact in growing fields. Since 2008, food sources for multistate Salmonella outbreaks attributed to produce have included mangoes, papayas, cantaloupe (twice) and cucumbers and sprouts three times each. There were also multistate outbreaks attributed to produce in general that were never narrowed down one, of them linked to a restaurant chain that was initially not named.
Now, another chain restaurant is added to the list. A Salmonella outbreak linked to food served at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota has sickened 45 people. Produce has been identified as the source of the outbreak, which involves 17 locations, most of them located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and include fever, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Typically, these symptoms last between four and seven days. Roughly 30 percent of cases require hospitalization. Of those, some develop an invasive, life-threatening form of the infection.
The multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to imported cucumbers has grown to include at least 341 people in 30 states . Seventy people have been hospitalized and two have died.
More than half of those sickened are children under 18. This age group is in a high rissk category for Salmonella. Children under five have infcetion rates quintuple those of other age groups. according to the CDC. Other at high risk include seniors and those with compromised immune systems.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico, distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as the likely source of the outbreak.
Health officials from Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada have isolated Salmonella from samples of cucumbers collected from locations where Andrew & Williamson cucumbers were distributed.
By state the case count is: Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3).