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FDA investigates growing salmonella outbreak linked to recalled cantaloupe

The FDA and the CDC are warning consumers not to eat certain whole and cut cantaloupes and pre-cut fruit products linked to a salmonella outbreak.
J. Scott Applewhite
The FDA and the CDC are warning consumers not to eat certain whole and cut cantaloupes and pre-cut fruit products linked to a salmonella outbreak.

Updated November 24, 2023 at 7:37 PM ET

U.S. food safety officials are urging consumers not to eat recalled cantaloupe products due to the risk of illness as they investigate an outbreak of salmonella infections.

The number of reported infections has more than doubled in the week since the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the outbreak.

At least 99 people in 32 states have gotten sick from the bacteria, the CDC said in an update on Friday. At least 45 of them have been hospitalized. The most recent sickness onset was reported on Nov. 10, according to the FDA.

Four companies — Trufresh (which sells cantaloupes under the labels Malichita and Rudy), CF Dallas (Freshness Guaranteed and RaceTrac brands), Aldi and Vinyard — have recalled several fresh cantaloupe and pineapple products sold in at least 18 states nationwide, as well as in Canada.

Of the 33 people who spoke to state and local health officials about their illness, 29 had reported eating cantaloupe within a week of getting sick, according to the CDC.

The recalls apply to:

  • All sizes of fresh cantaloupes with the "Malichita" label or the "Rudy" label, sold between the dates of Oct. 10-Nov. 3. Sold in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and Canada.
  • Aldi cantaloupe, cut cantaloupe and pineapple spears sold in clamshell packaging in stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin, with best-by dates between Oct. 27-31.
  • Vinyard cantaloupe chunks and cubes, fruit mixes, melon medleys, and fruit cups containing cantaloupe. Most have a "Vinyard" label; some have a red "Fresh" label; sold between Oct. 30-Nov. 10 in Oklahoma stores.
  • Freshness Guaranteed and RaceTracpre-cut cantaloupes, including chunks, seasonal blend, melon mixes and fruit mixes; packed in clear square or round plastic containers with best-by dates between Nov. 7-12. Sold in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The recalled fruit may have reached consumers in other states through further retail distribution.

People infected with salmonella usually experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, with symptoms beginning between 6 hours and 6 days after consuming the bacteria. Most people recover 4 to 7 days later. Children under 5 and seniors are at a higher risk of severe, sometimes fatal, illness.

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Emma Bowman
[Copyright 2024 NPR]