Where were the recalled Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce cucumbers that may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria sold? These cucumbers are linked to an outbreak that has sickened at least 341 people in 30 states.
The recalled cucumbers have all been removed from stores but had been sold at some locations of the following stores: Walmart, Savemart, Food 4 Less , Winco and Ralphs. Other stores also may have sold them
The cucumbers were sold to consumers from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015. All cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” label by that company during that time period have been recalled.
The recalled cucumbers were imported from Baja, Mexico, and grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico. The cucumbers are known as “Limited Edition Pole Grown Cucumbers.” But the cucumbers are usually sold in bulk bins and may not be labeled or have any identifying marks.
The cucumbers are called “slicer” or “American” cucumbers. They are dark green, about 7 to 10 inches long, and 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter. These are not the narrow English cucumbers usually sold wrapped in plastic, or the small pickling cucumbers. No domestically-produced cucumbers are included in the recall at this time. Other produce import companies are under investigation at this time.
Washing will not remove all of the Salmonella bacteria from the surface of the fruit. In addition, we don’t know if the bacteria is on the peel or is in the flesh of the cucumber. Cross-contamination between the cucumber and other fruits and vegetables could also cause illness. If you purchased cucumbers since August 1, 2015 and aren’t sure if you purchased the recalled items, throw them out. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and clean the refrigerator or any place the cucumbers may have touched.
This outbreak has sickened at least 285 people (perhaps 291 people, if the case count from Arizona is correct) in 27 states and has killed one person. The cucumbers were distributed in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. They may have been shipped to other states as well.
Salmonella bacteria have been found at the Andrew & Williamson facility in California. Testing is pending on whether the bacteria is the outbreak strain.
Eleven illness clusters have been identified in seven states. In all of these clusters, cucumbers were the common food consumed before the patients got sick. Fifty three ill persons have been hospitalized. And 54% of ill persons are children younger than 18 years.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and possible blood in the stool. If you ate cucumbers, whether in a salad at a restaurant or at home, and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor. The complications of a Salmonella infection can be severe, including sepsis, or blood infection, and death.
Even if you recover without treatment, the long term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be serious. Survivors can suffer from reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and heart problems, including high blood pressure. Your doctor should know about this illness so she can watch for possible complications in the future.
The government is currently testing the bacteria to see if it is resistant to antibiotics. If so, the infections will be more serious and will be more difficult to treat.
This post was updated September 11.