Cantaloupes are available in supermarkets all year round, but may be scarce and more expensive in the winter. Peak cantaloupe season is from June to October.
And, here we are in November.
In this most current Salmonella outbreak linked to Mexican grown cantaloupe, all the illnesses in the United States and Canada have occurred from mid-October to min-November.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
The U.S. and Canadian Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreaks:
As of November 24, 99 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 32 states. Arkansas (1), Arizona (7), California (1), Colorado (2), Georgia (3), Iowa (5), Illinois (4), Indiana (2), Kentucky (5), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (13), Missouri (9), Mississippi (1), North Carolina (2), Nebraska (4), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), New York (1), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (4), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (8). Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 17, 2023, to November 10, 2023. Of 77 people with information available, 45 have been hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported from Minnesota. Age of ill ranges from less than 1 to 100 years of age. 60% are male and 40% are female.
As of November 24, there have been 63 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall and Oranienburg illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (12), Ontario (12), Quebec (35), Prince Edward Island (2) and Newfoundland and Labrador (2). Additional Salmonella infections are under investigation and more illnesses associated with this outbreak may be confirmed. Individuals became sick between mid-October and mid-November 2023. Seventeen individuals have been hospitalized. One death has been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 0 to 100 years of age. About half of the cases (51%) are male.
William “Bill” Marler has been a food safety lawyer and advocate since the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. coli Outbreak which was chronicled in the book, “Poisoned” and in the recent Netflix documentary by the same name. Bill work has been profiled in the New Yorker, “A Bug in the System;” the Seattle Times, “30 years after the deadly E. colioutbreak, A Seattle attorney still fights for food safety;” the Washington Post, “He helped make burgers safer, Now he is fighting food poisoning again;” and several others.. Dozens of times a year Bill speaks to industry and government throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, China and Australia on why it is important to prevent foodborne illnesses. He is also a frequent commentator on food litigation and food safety on Marler Blog. Bill is also the publisher of Food Safety News.
Marler Clark has been in the middle and in the lead for all the Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreaks over the last decades. Here is a sampling:
- Caito Foods Melon Salmonella Outbreak – Multistate (2018)
- Chamberlain Farms Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak – Multistate (2012)
- Del Monte Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit – Nationwide (2011)
- Susie Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit – Washington (2002)
- Viva Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuit – Washington, California (2001)