California added to pre-cut melon salmonella warning

A multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to pre-cut melon has sickened at least 60 people, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Saturday.

WASHINGTON — California has been added to the list of states where cut melon may be contaminated with salmonella, the US Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Tennessee, have also been added, bringing the total number of states to 23.

Cut watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe as well as fruit salads containing these melons have been recalled from stores in these states, including Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, Sprouts Farmers Market, Costco and Whole Foods/Amazon. The FDA has posted a full list of retailers and locations where it believes contaminated melon was sold.

The multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to the pre-cut melon has sickened at least 60 people, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Saturday. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized in the outbreak, the CDC said, and no deaths have been reported.

Diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps are the symptoms of salmonella infection. Signs of illness typically occur within 12 to 72 hours and last for four to seven days.

The individuals who became ill said they ate pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon or a fruit salad mix that contained melon. The recalled products were sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers.

On Thursday, Walmart, Kroger, Jay C and Payless stores in the affected states removed pre-cut melon products linked to the outbreak, the CDC said in announcing the outbreak.

The US Food and Drug Administration, which is investigating the outbreak alongside the CDC, is working to identify a supplier of pre-cut melon to stores where ill people shopped.

Consumers who do not remember what store their pre-cut melon was purchased from should discard it.

The CDC said that retailers should not serve or sell pre-cut melon products that were distributed by SpartanNash Distribution, Caito Foods Distribution and Gordon Food Service.

The advice from the CDC does not apply to whole melons. It only applies to pre-cut melon and fruit salad mixes containing melon.

The CDC estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States every year.

Most people recover from a salmonella infection without treatment. However, for some, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is necessary. In rare cases, an infection can lead to death unless a patient receives prompt treatment with antibiotics.