In a decidedly unseasonal start to summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning consumers about an outbreak of salmonella (that may cause symptoms like diarrhea and fever) associated with pre-cut melon. The affected fruit—including pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and fruit salad mixes containing those products—was produced at a facility in Indianapolis by Caito Foods and recalled by the company over the weekend.
Fruit included in the recall was sold in clear plastic clamshell containers at Trader Joe's, Costco, Jay C, Walgreens, Walmart, Kroger, Payless, Whole Foods/Amazon, Sprouts, and Owen's. But it was only distributed to stores in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio.
So far, the CDC reports there have been 60 cases of salmonella in five states connected to the outbreak, 31 of which have required hospitalization. People began feeling sick between April 30 and May 28, but the CDC's investigation is ongoing.
Salmonella infections don't always come with symptoms. But when they do, symptoms can start within 12 hours of eating contaminated food.
Salmonella is a bacteria that, if ingested, can cause infections, the Mayo Clinic explains. It's often found in undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs but can also be found in produce.
In many cases, people don't experience any symptoms. But they can take between 12 and 72 hours to develop. As SELF previously reported, those symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood in your stool
The illness usually lasts between four and seven days, but most healthy adults are able to get through it without much treatment. Simply staying hydrated and getting some rest are often enough to have you feeling better in a few days.
But people with weakened immune symptoms, older adults (above age 65), and young children (under age 5) may experience more severe symptoms and, therefore, need more treatment, possibly including hospitalization. In rare cases, the bacteria causing the infection can spread from the gut to other parts of the body and cause more serious issues, such as meningitis.
So if you think you may have a salmonella infection, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends checking in with your doctor, especially if you see blood in your stool, are having a hard time staying hydrated, or simply aren't getting better after a few days.
The CDC recommends avoiding any of the recalled pre-cut melon products and throwing away those that may be lurking in your fridge.
Obviously, the first step is to avoid buying or eating any recalled products, the CDC says. That also means checking the extensive list of recalled products on the FDA site and making sure to get rid of any that you may have bought recently. Retailers should also do their part by not selling or serving any of the recalled fruit.
It's also important to follow basic food safety rules to avoid spreading any possibly contamination now and always. So, be sure to wash your hands and cooking surfaces and tools frequently and keep produce separate from any raw meat, poultry, or eggs.
Hopefully, our pre-cut fruit salads will be back to normal in no time.