The cucumber that is.

With Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin leading the way, the CDC is reporting a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak.  So far a total of 73 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported from 18 states.  27% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

According to the CDC, preliminary information indicates that consumption of imported cucumbers is the likely source of infection for the ill persons.  On April 24, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico in import alert.

This is not the first problem with cucumbers.

In the spring of 2011 Spanish cucumbers were originally blamed for an outbreak of E. coli O104 that sickened several hundred and killed over 50 in Europe.  The outbreak was eventually linked to Fenugreek seed sprouts.

Also in the spring of 2011 cucumbers grown in North Carolina were recalled due to Salmonella.  Fortunately, no one was sickened.

Outbreaks linked to cucumbers seem to be a bit rare.

An outbreak of microsporidia, Enterocytozoon bieneusi occurred in 2006 among 135 persons hotel guests and staff in Varmland County, Sweden.  Cheese sandwiches and salad contained cucumber slices. Investigators found that washed, pre-sliced cucumbers sealed in plastic bags and imported from Spain were used in both the cheese sandwiches and the salad. Because the pre-sliced cucumbers were not processed further at the hotel, investigators hypothesized that contamination occurred before harvest, either by contaminated manure, manure compost, sewage sludge, irrigation water, runoff water from livestock operations or directly from wild and domestic animals. The cucumbers could not be traced back to the farm.

A few outbreaks in the United States seem to be likely, but not conclusively, linked to cucumbers.

Michigan Banquet Facility Green Salad and Cucumber 2008 – A confirmed outbreak of Norovirus occurred among people who had eaten green salad or cucumber while at a banquet facility in Michigan.

Minnesota Banquet Facility Cucumber Salad 2006 – A confirmed outbreak of Norovirus occurred among people who had eaten cucumber salad at a banquet facility in Minnesota.

Best advice – support the FDA in its effort to do more inspections of produce imports and always scrub your vegetables under running water with a clean brush.