Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Cantaloupes in Canada and U.S. Affects Dozens

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned consumers not to eat certain whole and cut cantaloupes and pre-cut fruit products linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning. (J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

Recalls Issued for Various Brands Including Malichita, Save on Foods, and Urban Fare

Health authorities in Canada and the United States are warning consumers about a salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes, with dozens of people falling ill across both countries.

Recalled Brands and Distribution

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has identified three brands of cantaloupes – Malichita, Save on Foods, and Urban Fare – in an urgent recall. Affected products include whole cantaloupes, pre-cut chunks, fruit salads, and platters containing the fruit. The agency advises that consumers who have these products should discard them immediately.

The recalled Malichita cantaloupes were reportedly sold between October 11 and November 14. Save on Foods and Urban Fare products have best before dates up to and including November 9. Some of these products have been distributed in all Canadian provinces as well as Yukon and possibly other territories.

A nationwide salmonella outbreak that has put 17 Americans in the hospital has been linked to melons

Confirmed Cases and Hospitalizations

In Canada, there have been eight confirmed cases in British Columbia and one in Ontario linked to the Malichita brand. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 43 cases, with 17 individuals hospitalized. The illnesses in the U.S. span 15 states, including California. No deaths have been reported in either country.

Symptoms and Recovery

Salmonella infection typically causes symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, appearing within six hours to six days after consuming contaminated food. While most people recover within a week, the infection can be more severe, especially for children under five, those above 65, and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Preventive Measures

Health officials urge consumers to take precautions:

  • Check the CFIA’s website for updates on recalled products.
  • Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly when handling cantaloupes.
  • Store cantaloupes properly and refrigerate cut fruit.
  • Cook cantaloupes thoroughly if preferred.
  • Be vigilant about symptoms of salmonella infection.

Investigations and Warnings

The CFIA and the CDC are conducting thorough investigations. The CDC notes that the actual number of affected individuals is likely higher than reported due to the incubation period of the bacteria.