As Salmonella Outbreak Widens, Avoid Cantaloupes if Brand Is Unknown, CDC Warns

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2023 (Healthday News) -- Shoppers should steer clear of any pre-cut cantaloupe if the brand is unknown, as a salmonella outbreak linked to the fruit continues to widen, U.S. health officials warned Thursday.

Eighteen more illnesses have been reported since Nov. 24, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said in an updated health alert, and the list of stores that sold recalled products has grown.

Since the outbreak was first reported on Nov. 14, at least two deaths, 117 illnesses and 61 hospitalizations in 34 states have been linked to contaminated cantaloupe, according to the CDC.

The true number of illnesses is likely far higher, the agency noted, because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for salmonella. More recent illnesses may also not yet be reported.

Still, "interviews with sick people and laboratory findings continue to show that cantaloupes are making people in this outbreak sick," the agency said. "[The] CDC is concerned about this outbreak because illnesses are severe with more than half hospitalized, and people in long-term care facilities and childcare centers have gotten sick."

The CDC also said the recall now includes pre-cut cantaloupe sold at major grocery stores Kroger, Trader Joe's and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Consumers should also refrain from buying pre-cut cantaloupe sold at Aldi, Kwik Trip, Freshness Guaranteed, RaceTrac, Vinyard and Bix Produce, the agency added. Meanwhile, consumers should continue to stay away from whole cantaloupes sold under the brands Malichita or Rudy.

The CDC has advised people to either throw away recalled fruit or return it to the store for a refund. Afterwards, wash anything that has touched the recalled fruit.

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps in most cases, with symptoms setting in anywhere from six hours to six days after eating contaminated food, the CDC said.

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these severe salmonella symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°

  • Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down

  • Not peeing much

  • Dry mouth and throat

  • Feeling dizzy when standing up

More information

The CDC has more on salmonella.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Nov. 30, 2023