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FDA Investigation Summary - Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse

Posted September 12, 2013

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What was the Problem and What was Done About It?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials investigated a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul illnesses linked to cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Ariz.  

On June 20, 2013, the CDC reported that the outbreak appeared to be over.  A total of 84 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul were reported from 18 states: Arizona (11), California (29), Colorado (2), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (9), Nevada (1), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (7), Virginia (3), and Wisconsin (2).  Nationwide 17 people were reported to have been hospitalized. No deaths were reported.  

The CDC reported that in interviews, ill persons answered questions about foods consumed and other exposures in the 7 days before becoming ill. Thirty-four (69%) of 49 ill persons interviewed reported eating various types of cucumbers purchased or consumed at multiple locations or restaurants. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy persons in which 44% reported eating cucumbers in the 7 days before they were interviewed.  

Reviewing shipping records, with assistance from its partner state agencies, FDA traced cucumbers eaten by six people who became ill during the outbreak to the importer and further, to the suppliers, Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse.  

On April 24, 2013, the FDA placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse on Import Alert. The Import Alert informs FDA field personnel that FDA has sufficient evidence or other information to detain future shipments of cucumbers from these suppliers. This means that cucumbers from these two firms would be denied admission into the United States unless the importer provided evidence that they were not contaminated with Salmonella, such as results from private laboratory tests of the cucumbers.  

On July 17, 2013, the FDA removed cucumbers produced by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse from Import Alert after the firms conducted an assessment of the conditions and practices in their facilities, identified potential routes of contamination of cucumbers with pathogens and documented corrective actions that they took to prevent future contamination of the cucumbers they produce.  

Additional Information for Consumers:

Additional Information for Industry:

The FDA provides guidance, The Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards: The Guide at a Glance, to assist domestic and foreign growers, packers, and shippers of unprocessed or minimally processed (raw) fresh fruits and vegetables by increasing awareness of potential hazards and providing suggestions for practices to minimize these hazards. The guidance will be most effective when used to evaluate individual operations and to institute good agricultural and good manufacturing practices (GAPs and GMPs) appropriate to the individual operations.  

In January 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released for public comment its proposed rule to establish science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms. The rule is one of five proposed rules that would lay the cornerstone for the prevention-based, modern food safety system mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. For more information on the Proposed Rule for Produce Safety, please visit FDA’s website.

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The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available. 

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Page Last Updated: 11/03/2016
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