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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Cantaloupes Claims Eight Lives in the U.S. and Canada

A salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes has resulted in eight deaths in the United States and Canada, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA reported three deaths in the U.S., while the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed five deaths in Canada. The potentially contaminated cantaloupes are associated with the “Malichita” or “Rudy” brands, distributed by at least four suppliers. Recalls have been issued for whole cantaloupes and products made from the affected fruit due to salmonella concerns.

Extent of the Outbreak

As of the latest update, the salmonella outbreak has led to 230 cases in the U.S. and 129 in Canada. In the U.S., the illnesses have been reported in 38 states, resulting in 96 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Canada, 44 individuals required hospitalization, with a significant proportion being children aged 5 or younger (35%) and adults aged 65 or older (45%).

Recalls and Recommendations

Recalls have been issued for whole cantaloupes from the “Malichita” and “Rudy” brands, as well as products believed to be made from the potentially contaminated fruit. The CDC advises against consuming pre-cut cantaloupes if the brand is unknown and cautions against consuming any recalled whole or pre-cut cantaloupe products. Individuals exhibiting symptoms of salmonella, including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, are advised to seek medical attention.

Investigation and Cross-Contamination Concerns

Health agencies in the U.S. and Canada are investigating two strains of salmonella associated with the outbreak. TGD Cuts LLC recently issued a recall for specific fresh-cut fruit cup, clamshell, and tray products over concerns that recalled cantaloupes may have been used in these items. The FDA emphasizes the importance of proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces by pre-cut fruit manufacturers to prevent potential cross-contamination in processing facilities.

As the investigation continues, consumers are urged to dispose of cantaloupes or pre-cut cantaloupe products falling under recalls or those with uncertain origins. The CDC and FDA are closely monitoring the situation to prevent further illnesses and ensure public safety.

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