The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning the public of a deadly danger lurking in the grocery store and potentially in consumer's homes.

Nearly 100 Ill and Two Dead

A recall has been issued for cantaloupes sold both whole and as part of pre-cut packages at stores across the country, including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee after reports of illness and even death due to the fruit being contaminated with salmonella. KIRO reports that 99 people have fallen ill and two deaths have been tied to the contaminated fruit.

Nearly 100 people in 32 states have gotten sick from the contaminated fruits. Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio have the highest number of cases. Two people have died of the infections in Minnesota, and 45 people are hospitalized nationwide. One person has been reported sick in Washington.

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Salmonella Exposure and Symptoms

Salmonella is a harmful bacteria that can lead to severe infections, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Even healthy individuals may experience symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (which can be bloody), and abdominal pain if exposed to Salmonella.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms can begin anywhere from six hours to six days after exposure to the bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration warns that in rare cases, the infection can spread to the bloodstream, causing more critical conditions like arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

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Do Not Eat The Contaminated Fruit

If you have purchased any of the recalled cantaloupes, you are strongly advised not to consume them. The safest course of action is to dispose of these products. As part of its ongoing investigation, the FDA has issued an alert to not sell, serve, or eat any recalled cantaloupe or products containing any of the canteloupe.

  • Whole fresh cantaloupes with a label on the cantaloupe that says “Malichita” or “Rudy”, “4050”, and “Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique”.
  • Retailers and wholesalers would have received recalled whole melons from Crown Jewels Produce in boxes labeled “Malachita/Z Farms” or from Sofia Produce doing business as TruFresh in boxes labeled “Malichita” or “Rudy”, or from Pacific Trellis in corrugated cartons with certain lot codes.

Cantaloupe and Pineapple Contaminated

The illness has been linked to salmonella contamination of cantaloupes sold in stores, including popular grocery retailer Aldi. In addition to cantaloupe, Aldi is also recalling pineapple sold in its stores due to salmonella contamination as well. In a release from Aldi, the following products and UPC codes are included in the recall:

Whole Cantaloupe distributed between 10/27-10/31 and bearing UPC numbers: 4061464587694; 717524410023; 850677002001; 717524410085

Cantaloupe Chunks packaged in 16 oz. clamshell distributed between 10/27-10/31 and bearing UPC numbers: 4099100215885

Pineapple Spears packaged in 16 oz. clamshells distributed between 10/27-10/31 and bearing UPC numbers: 4099100210736

Additionally, the contaminated cantaloupe has been sold under the brand packaging name Freshness Guaranteed across a large part of the United States, including Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee, and although the products under this brand have expired, there is concern that consumers may still have these products in their freezers. The following products from this brand are included in the recall:

  • Freshness Guaranteed    Seasonal Blend
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Seasonal Blend
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Seasonal Blend
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Melon Trio
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Melon Mix
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Fruit Blend
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Fruit Bowl
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Seasonal Fruit Tray
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Fruit Mix
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Cantaloupe Chunks
  • Freshness Guaranteed    Cantaloupe Chunks
  • RaceTrac               Fruit Medley

To view the UPC codes and expiration dates of the Freshness Guaranteed products visit the FDA site here. Another brand, Vineyard, has also been recalled. However, its products were distributed only across Oklahoma.

If you or someone you know has concerns about illness related to the consumption of these cantaloupes, it is recommended to reach out to a healthcare provider. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing any potential health issues.

[Source: CDC; FDA]

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