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  1. Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness

Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Carrau Linked to Pre-cut Melons

FDA continues its investigation, CDC reports end to outbreak

May 24, 2019

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, have been investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau illnesses linked to pre-cut melon products.

The FDA continues its investigation at the Caito Foods, LLC processing facility that cut and packed melons linked to this outbreak. The FDA investigated distribution and supplier information for these melons; a single source or potential point of contamination was not identified for this outbreak. 

Today, the CDC announced that the outbreak appears to be over.

Recommendation

On April 12, 2019, FDA warned consumers not to eat the recalled pre-cut melon products.  It is not likely that any of these melon products are on the market or still in people’s homes.  Consumers need not avoid any type of melon currently on the market.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 137
Hospitalizations: 38
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: May 1, 2019
States with Cases: AL, IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, OH, WI

What Products are Recalled?

The recalled products are listed in the Caito Food, LLC press release.

A list of retail establishments that may have sold these products is available on the FDA website. This list will be updated as new information becomes available.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever called salmonellosis. Most people infected with Salmonella will begin to develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness, salmonellosis, usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool, and in some cases may become fatal.

Who is at Risk?

Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe salmonellosis infections.

What Else Should Restaurants and Retailers Do?

In the event that retailers and/or other food service operators are found to have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to Salmonella.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

What Else Should Consumers Do?

  • People should consult their healthcare provider if they suspect that they have developed symptoms that resemble a Salmonella infection.
  • Consumers should follow these steps for preventing foodborne illness:
    • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
    • Wash and sanitize surfaces used to serve or store potentially contaminated products.
    • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
    • People with pets should take special care to avoid cross-contamination when preparing their pet's food. Be sure to pick up and thoroughly wash food dishes as soon as pets are done eating, and prevent children, the elderly, and any other people with weak immune systems from handling or being exposed to the food or pets that have eaten potentially contaminated food.
  • Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

Previous Updates

April 24, 2019

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau illnesses linked to pre-cut melon products. These products contain cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon, or may be mixes of some or all of these melons and other pre-cut fruit.

On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods, LLC, of Indianapolis, Ind., recalled products containing pre-cut melons because they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella.  Additionally, Caito Foods, LLC temporarily suspended producing and distributing these products. Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of Salmonella but has been historically seen in imported melons. Reports from Caito Foods, LLC indicate that imported melons were used in the suspect pre-cut melon products.

FDA and Indiana authorities continue to inspect and investigate the Caito Foods, LLC processing facility where these melons were cut and packed, including collecting samples for laboratory analysis. FDA is also continuing its traceback investigation, examining shipping records to try to identify the specific source of these melons.

April 12, 2019

Caito Foods, LLC, of Indianapolis, Ind., has recalled products containing pre-cut melons because they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Additionally, Caito Foods, LLC has temporarily suspended producing and distributing these products.

FDA worked with CDC and state partners to trace the distribution of pre-cut melon mixes from individual case patients back to Caito Foods, LLC. FDA is also continuing its traceback investigation to identify the specific source of these melons. Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of Salmonella but has been historically seen in imported melons. Reports from Caito Foods, LLC indicate that imported melons were used in the suspect pre-cut melon mixes. FDA’s traceback investigation is examining shipping records to try to determine a country and, if possible, a farm of origin for the melons. 

FDA and Indiana authorities are currently inspecting and investigating, collecting samples for laboratory analysis, at the Caito Foods, LLC processing facility where these melons were cut and packed. 

Caito Foods, LLC was linked to a similar outbreak in 2018 involving Salmonella Adelaide in pre-cut melon products.

Walmart management reported to FDA that affected stores were instructed on 4/11/2019 to remove all the recalled products that were packed by Caito Foods, LLC.


Who to Contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can

Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.

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