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FDA Fast Facts: FDA works with partners to investigate Salmonella Carrau outbreak linked to pre-cut melon, warns consumers to avoid eating recalled product

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2019
Media Inquiries: Peter Cassell, 240-402-6537, peter.cassell@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local officials, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections. The CDC reports that pre-cut melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon) are the likely source of this outbreak and Caito Foods, LLC has issued a voluntary recall for affected products.

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat pre-cut melon products produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Caito Foods, LLC distributed products produced at this facility in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. To date, recalled pre-cut melons was reported by Caito Foods, LLC to be sold from Kroger under the Renaissance Food Group label, Kroger under Boar's Head Private Label, Target under the Garden Highway Label, Trader Joes under the Trader Joes label, Walmart under a Freshness Guaranteed label, and Amazon/Whole Foods under the Whole Foods Market Label. Caito Foods, LLC has recalled products that contain pre-cut melons to prevent further distribution of potentially contaminated products. However, consumers may still have these products in their homes.

The pre-cut melon products were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers under several different brands or labels, so consumers are advised to look at the packaging to determine if the melon is distributed by Caito Foods, LLC and, if so, to not eat it. Some of these containers may be labeled as products of “Renaissance Foods Group.” Retailers and wholesale customers should check their inventories and shelves to confirm that none of the products are present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories.

“Upon learning that this outbreak is likely linked to pre-cut melon from a Caito Foods’ facility in Indiana, the FDA began working with the company and retailers to promptly recall the product and prevent further exposure to consumers. We are continuing to aggressively investigate the source of the product in order to determine where the melons were sourced from and how they became contaminated. As our investigation unfolds, we’re advising consumers to take action now by discarding any implicated pre-cut melon product that may still be in their fridge or freezer,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. “Responding to food safety problems is a vital part of the FDA’s mission and to protecting consumers. The FDA and Indiana State Department of Health are investigating the facility and will conduct an inspection that’ll help identify the actions the company will need to take to prevent an outbreak like this from happening again. We will provide further updates as we learn more.”

The FDA is continuing its investigation into the specific type of melon that may be implicated in this outbreak. Salmonella Carrau is rare and has been historically been found in imported melon.

The following is an update on the FDA’s outbreak investigation.

Snapshots By the Numbers (as of 4/12)
Outbreak Investigation Summary
  • The FDA and CDC believes a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections is likely linked to pre-cut melon products produced at the Caito Foods, LLC’s facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Caito Foods, LLC distributed products produced at this facility in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • Caito Foods, LLC recalled products that contain pre-cut melons. These products contain cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon, or may be mixes of some or all of these melons and other pre-cut fruit.
  • The FDA is working with Caito Foods, LLC at the facility to determine the cause of the outbreak and sanitation measures necessary before production can begin again.
  • This outbreak is not related to the Salmonella outbreak that happened last year related to Caito Foods, LLC and pre-cut melon, which involved a different type of Salmonella.
  • Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of Salmonella and has been historically seen in imported melon.
  • The FDA’s traceback investigation will examine shipping records to try to determine, if possible, a farm of origin for the melons.
Advice for Consumers
  • The FDA advises consumers not to eat recalled pre-cut fruit products containing any melon produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • If consumers have any of the recalled product they should dispose of it or return the product for a refund.
  • Consumers that consumed any pre-cut melon should look for signs and symptoms of a Salmonella infection. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that typically develop within 12 to 72 hours of exposure and last for about 4 to 7 days.
  • If consumers might have symptoms of a Salmonella infection they should consult their health care professional.
  • People with questions about food safety can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the FDA’s website.
Outbreak Investigation
  • The CDC reports 93 people became ill between Mar. 4, 2019 and Mar. 31, 2019.
  • 23 people have been hospitalized.
  • To date, no deaths have been reported.
  • The cases are spread across nine states: AL, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, OH, WI.
  • People who became ill range in age from less than one (1) to 98 years, with a median age of 53.
  • 57 percent of ill people are female.
  • To date, one (1) common production facility was identified and a recall was initiated.
  • 16 states had stores where recalled product was distributed.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available. For more information on this investigation:

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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines, and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.