The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged consumers in 10 more states not to consume pre-cut melon over fears it may be contaminated with salmonella, bringing the total number of affected states to 23.
This follows reports earlier this week of more than 60 cases of salmonella infections across five Midwestern states and 31 known hospitalizations from April 30 to May 28. Although initial recalls were limited to eight states, the list of affected states has now grown to include Alabama, California, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee, the FDA said on Thursday.
The cut watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and fruit salads containing one of these melons have been cleared from the shelves of major stores, including Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. The FDA has compiled a comprehensive list of locations and stores where the contaminated melon may have been sold.
The FDA warns that anyone who has bought freshly cut melon from any of these locations should dispose of it.
The CDC has not yet provided an update on the number of reported sicknesses or hospitalizations related to the melon, but it is working alongside the FDA and state health officials to identify the source of the salmonella outbreak in hopes of preventing its spread to more states. Their investigation suggests that Caito Foods’ Indianapolis facility may have been at least partially to blame. In response, Caito Foods, LLC issued a voluntary recall on fruit salad mixes containing pre-cut melon Sunday evening.
According to the CDC, Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses in the United States every year, and contaminated food is its leading cause.