Some restaurants around the country may have sold imported Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce cucumbers that have been recalled in connection with a multistate Salmonella outbreak. In Minnesota, at least 10 people were exposed to cucumbers sold at five Red Lobster restaurants.
The cucumbers were most likely used in salads served at the restaurants. Andrew & Williamson may have sold these cucumbers to other restaurants and companies too. While the investigation into where the cucumbers were sold to the public is ongoing, we know that Andrew & Williamson restaurant customers include In-N-Out Burger, The Capital Grille, and Olive Garden in addition to Red Lobster.
We also know that Limited Edition cucumbers, the type recalled, were sold through retail, food service companies, wholesalers, and brokers in 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. They may also have been sold in other states.
The cucumbers are long and dark green, about 7 to 10 inches long, and about 2 inches in diameter. They are usually sold sliced across in rounds or circles.
As of September 4, 2015, the case count per state is: Alaska (8), Arizona (60) [according to the Arizona Health Department website, this number is 66], 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). Illnesses started from July 3, 2015 to August 26, 2015. One death has been reported. Fifty-three people are hospitalized. Many of those sickened are children.
If you ordered anything made with cucumbers from those restaurants in August and early September and have experienced the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning, please see your doctor. If you have a high fever, blood in the stool, or you can’t keep liquids down and pass very little urine, you must get medical attention as soon as possible.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, chills, abdominal cramps, headache, and muscle aches. Because most people recover on their own without medical treatment, most Salmonella cases are not reported. In fact, the “multiplier” for Salmonella is 30.3, which means that for every case reported, 30 are not reported. In this particular outbreak, 8,600 people across the country could be sick.
Children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic illnesses are more likely to need medical care and be hospitalized when they contract a Salmonella infection. More people are usually hospitalized when the bacteria are antibiotic-resistant; we don’t know if that is the case in this particular outbreak.
Restaurants and other food service venus should not process or sell the recalled cucumbers. It’s also important that utensils, work surfaces, refrigerators, and storage areas be cleaned. The bacteria on the cucumbers can easily cross-contaminate other surfaces and other foods, especially those that are eaten without additional cooking.
More cases will probably be reported, since it can take up to 4 weeks from the time a person becomes sick until that illness is reported to the government. Public officials are working to identify the DNA of the bacteria and are looking for more people who may be part of this outbreak.