The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and regional health authorities are alerting the public of an ongoing Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to imported cantaloupes sold under the label “Malichita”. These cantaloupes should be disposed of and not consumed.

To date, there have been eight confirmed cases of a rare strain of Salmonella in British Columbia (B.C.) since mid-November, among people aged zero to 68 living in the Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Island Health regions. The illness symptoms associated with this outbreak are typical of Salmonella infection, which includes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Public health investigation of the cases shows a link to recalled cantaloupes in Canada and the United States. On November 14, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency updated a recall notice sent out on November 1 to include B.C. 

British Columbians are advised to discard and not consume Malichita cantaloupes that were sold from October 11 to November 14, 2023. If you have whole or pre-cut cantaloupes in your home and are unsure of their origin, discard them as a precaution.

Most illnesses detected to date in B.C. were caused by the Salmonella soahaninabacteria (sometimes referred to as Salmonella sundsvall in other jurisdictions). Genetic sequencing of the Salmonella bacteria shows a link between some of the B.C. cases and the strain of Salmonella found in the cantaloupes that were recalled. BCCDC is collaborating with B.C.’s regional health authorities, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to continue to investigate the outbreak.