There is a large Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. Customers of that company are listed on the corporate website. For now, we know that the cucumbers were sold to consumers at Red Lobster restaurants and select Walmart stores. The report from the Minnesota Department of Health lists Red Lobster, and Walmart has posted the recall on their web site.
Other stores and restaurants listed as customers at the Andrew & Williamson site include In-N-Out Burgers, Save Mart Supermarkets, Sam’s Club, The Capital Grille, United Supermarkets, Albertson’s, H-E-B, Safeway, Kroger, Olive Garden, Costco, and Fresh & Easy. The recalled cucumbers may or may not have been sold at those outlets. The cucumbers were not sold at Whole Foods, according to information from that company.
As of September 3, 2015, 285 people are sick with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Poona in 27 states. The case count per state is: Alaska (8), Arizona (60), 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 began to be reported on July 3, 2015. More will likely be reported, since the government only has data up to August 26, 2015.
Seventy-three percent of the 80 people interviewed so far reported eating cucumbers the week before they got sick. That is a “significantly higher” proportion than a survey of healthy people, in which just 55% ate cucumbers in the month of July. Several clusters of ill persons have been identified in different states; a cluster is defined as two unrelated people sickened with the same bacteria strain. Traceback investigation discovered that Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego was a common supplier of cucumbers eaten by people in those outbreak clusters.
Public health officials are collecting leftover cucumbers from restaurants and grocery stores where patients reported eating or shopping to see if they are contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated Salmonella bacteria from cucumbers they collected at a visit to the Andrew & Williamson facility.
Andrew & Williamson has recalled all “Limited Edition” cucumbers that were sold between August 1, 2015 and September 3, 2015. They were distributed 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 through retail, food service, wholesalers, and brokers. They may have been sold in other states as well.
If you ate slicer cucumbers, the long green cukes, in July, August, or September of this year and have experienced the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning, which include diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting, see your doctor. Salmonella is a reportable illness. If you do have it, your doctor will tell health officials about it and you will be added to the case count if your illness was caused by the outbreak strain.
Most cases of Salmonella are never reported to doctors, which can make solving these outbreaks very difficult. In fact, for every case reported, there are at least 30 other cases that are not reported. In other words, this outbreak could have sickened almost 9,000 people at this point.