January 15, 2019

Top 10 Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2018: Salmonella in Melons

It’s time for the Top 10 Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2018! Number 10 is the Salmonella Adelaide outbreak that was linked to pre-cut melons.

Melon Salmonella Adelaide Outbreak

It was very easy to choose this list this year, since there were so many outbreaks. Those that didn’t make the list included the current romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and the two Salmonella outbreaks that were linked to shell eggs.

In this outbreak, at least 77 people in nine states were sickened. Thirty-six people were hospitalized, which is a very high percentage for a Salmonella outbreak. All of the epidemiologic and traceback evidenced found that pre-cut melons supplied by Caito Foods was the likely source of this outbreak.

Most of those sickened said they ate pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, or a fruit salad mix made with melon from grocery stores. Caito Foods supplied pre-cut melon to those stores.

Most people don’t think about fruit as a food safety risk, but the fact is that produce and pathogens is a common combination. The fruit can be contaminated in the field, during processing, or during shipping. And the deeply crenelated surface of the melons is the ideal hiding place for bacteria. Rinsing the melons, or even scrubbing them, before processing won’t necessarily eliminate all of the bacteria that may be on the produce.

Public health officials used the PulseNet system, which is a database of DNA from pathogens, to find people who were part of this outbreak. The case count by state was: Arkansas (1), Florida (1), Illinois (7), Indiana (14), Kentucky (1), Michigan (39), Missouri (11), Ohio (2), and Tennessee (1). The illness onset dates ranged from April 30, 2018 to July 2, 2018. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 97.

On June 8, 2018, Caito Foods recalled fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products that were produced at the Caito Foods Facility in Indianapolis.

Bad Bug Law Team | Pritzker Law Firm

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella Adelaide infection after eating recalled precut melons, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900.

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