Human Interest

Recalled Cucumbers: May Be Source Of Salmonella Outbreak

Sometimes, food gets contaminated, even when precautions are taken to prevent it. This is especially true when food is being made or sorted in large batches. In fact, the CDC estimates that around 38.4 million cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. each year, mostly due to unspecified causes. Most recently, cucumbers have been recalled in more than a dozen states; they may possibly be the source of an ongoing salmonella outbreak. According to federal regulators, these cucumbers may have sickened at least 141 people. What to know about the recalled cucumbers. The Florida-based Fresh Start Produce Sales Inc. issued the recall on May 31 for whole cucumbers shipped from May 17 through May 21. The company didn’t say how many cucumbers were included in the recall. But it did say the products were shipped in bulk cartons to retail distribution centers, wholesalers, and food service distributors. Some of the states to receive the distributions include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. According to the recall, the cucumbers are dark green, approximately 1.5 - 2.0 inches in diameter, and 5-9 inches long. "The recall was initiated after the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture informed the company that a product sample tested positive for the bacteria. The FDA is conducting whole genome sequencing to determine if this sample is related to an ongoing salmonella outbreak investigation," the agency said in a public notice. A few things to note. The FDA opened an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Africana on May 22. The outbreak has sickened at least 141 people, though the agency has not yet reported where the infected people live. A source of infection has not yet been determined but is under active investigation. The FDA said the recalled cucumbers are unlikely to still be in the marketplace. Anyone with the recalled product should throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Salmonella symptoms and treatment Eating food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 6 hours to 6 days after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some cases, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illnesses and sometimes fatal infections. Find more on the recalled cucumbers here.

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