The FDA and CDC, in collaboration with state and local partners, announced last week that they are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Africana infections potentially linked to cucumbers.

Based on epidemiological information collected by CDC for the Salmonella Africana investigation, as of June 4, 162 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Africana have been reported from 25 states and the District of Columbia. Of the 65 people interviewed, 47 (72%) reported eating cucumbers.

CDC and FDA are also investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup infections, with 158 illnesses in 23 states. The two outbreaks share several similarities, including where and when illnesses occurred and the demographics of ill people. Investigators are working to determine whether the two outbreaks could be linked to the same food vehicle. Information will be provided on the source of the Salmonella Braenderup outbreak as it becomes available.

As part of the Salmonella Africana investigation, state partners in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture collected samples of cucumbers from several retail locations in their state. One sample supplied by Fresh Start Produce Sales, Inc., of Delray, Florida, tested positive for Salmonella. Further testing is underway to determine if the strain of Salmonella from the cucumber sample is the same strain that is making people sick.

Although Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has not announced it yet, it appears that there is a positive test for serotype Bareilly linked to cucumbers.

Cucumbers have been linked to Salmonella outbreaks in the past.

In April 2013 the CDC and their state and local partners and the FDA, investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul Infections linked to consumption of imported cucumbers. In total, there were 84 outbreak associated cases residing in 18 states. Among persons for whom information was available, illness onset dates ranged from January 12, 2013 to April 28, 2013. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 89 years. Among 60 persons with available information, 17 (28%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. On April 24, 2013 the FDA placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico on Import Alert. The cucumbers were distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Arizona.

In August 2014 public health investigators detected an increase in Salmonella Newport through surveillance of PulseNet, a national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease. A total of 275 cases were reported from 29 states and the District of Columbia. Illness onset dates ranged from May 25 to September 29, 2014. Thirty four percent (48 of 141) were hospitalized; one death was reported in an elderly man with bacteremia. Sixty-two percent (49 of 79) of respondents reported eating cucumbers in the week before becoming ill. Officials in Maryland, Delaware and New York worked with the FDA and USDA to conduct an informational traceback from retail establishments to identify a point of distribution for produce items. Preliminary traceback led to common grower in Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the Delmarva region. Officials collected 48 environmental samples from areas where cucumbers were grown, harvested and packed. No samples yielded Salmonella although sampling was performed several months after harvest.

On September 4, 2015 the CDC announced an outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to consumption of cucumbers grown in Mexico and imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. On March 18, 2016 the outbreak was declared to be over. A total of 907 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona were reported from 40 states. Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to February 29, 2016. Two hundred four ill people were hospitalized, and six deaths were reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in two of the 6 deaths. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as the likely source of the infections in this outbreak.

In September 2018 the WSDOH announced an outbreak seven cases of Salmonella Infantis infections were associated with consumption of English cucumbers purchased at various Costco stores. Illnesses began in August 2018. The last reported illness occurred on September 15, 2018. Two people were hospitalized. No one died.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources: