Outbreak Alert: Salmonella Poona Infections Linked to Imported Cucumbers

salmonella, food safety kids health, cucumbers

Photo courtesy of Stacy via Flicr

According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , an outbreak of Salmonella Poona has been linked to imported cucumbers from Mexico that were distributed by San Diego-based company Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

Since July 3, 2015, 285 people have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Poona in 27 states. The Limited Edition cucumbers (also known as “slicer” or “American” cucumbers) were distributed in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, and the CDC says they may have been distributed to retailers in other states as well. Food retailer Whole Foods stated that it did not carry the recalled cucumbers, as originally thought.

As Benjamin Chapman, PhD, an assistant professor and food-safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University explained: “Salmonella Poona isn’t as common as Salmonella Enteritidis, however it has the same symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea. It’s not one that we see every year.” Salmonella Poona outbreaks have also been linked to imported cantaloupes and turtles.

Mike Doyle, PhD, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, explained that contamination usually occurs when the outside of the cucumber comes in contact with fecal matter, usually from contaminated irrigation water or manure.

As CDC estimates, Salmonella (including Salmonella Poona, Enteritidis, and other strains) causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. each year.

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