Imported Cucumbers Linked To Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

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The FDA, CDC, and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul illnesses linked to cucumbers supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico and distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Ariz. The FDA has placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse on Import Alert. The Import Alert informs FDA field personnel that FDA has sufficient evidence or other information to detain future shipments of cucumbers from these suppliers. This means that cucumbers from these two firms will be denied admission into the United States unless the importer provides evidence that they are not contaminated with Salmonella, such as results from private laboratory tests of the cucumbers. Cucumbers from these two firms will remain on import alert until FDA has sufficient confidence that future shipments will be in compliance.

A total of 73 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported from 18 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Nationwide 14 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Interviews conducted by local and state health departments implicated consumption of cucumbers as a source of these infections. To date, among ill persons who have been asked detailed questions about food exposures, 67% (30/45) report eating cucumbers. This proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy persons in which 44.4% reported eating cucumbers in the 7 days before they were interviewed. An additional, 11% (5/45) report that they may have eaten cucumbers. No other foods that were reported as being eaten by interviewees showed a greater statistical significance when compared to the same healthy population survey.

Reviewing shipping records, with assistance from its partner state agencies, FDA traced cucumbers eaten by six people who were made sick during the outbreak to the importer and further, to the suppliers, Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse.

The investigation continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website: www.fda.gov.

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