The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Public Health Agency of Canada, and state partners investigated a multistate and multination outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis in the summer of 2020 associated with Prima/Wawona peaches. At least 17 states were affected by the outbreak. Cases were reported in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This outbreak was assigned the CDC outbreak ID 2007MIJEG-1.
A total of 101 lab-confirmed cases were included in the outbreak. Ill people ranged from 1 to 92 years of age (median 43). At least 64% of cases were female. Cases reported illness onset between June 29 and August 27, 2020. For whom data is available, 28 cases reported hospitalization, and one case was reported to have died. At least 101 human specimen samples were tested, and Salmonella Enteritidis was discovered as the outbreak serotype.
Of those for whom information is available, 81% of cases reported eating fresh peaches in the week before their illnesses started. This percentage is significantly higher than that of a pool of average healthy people, of whom only 20% reported eating fresh peaches in the week before they were interviewed. This implies that peaches were significantly associated with illness in this outbreak. Investigating officials collected records from the grocery stores at which ill people reported shopping, and it was discovered that loose and bagged peaches distributed by Wawona Packing Company, LLC were sold at multiple stores at which ill people reported buying their peaches.
In Canada there were 57 confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness linked to this outbreak in two provinces: Ontario (41) and Quebec (16). Individuals became sick between June and August 2020. Twelve individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Individuals who became ill were between 0 and 91 years of age. The majority of cases (60%) were female. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a related consumer advisory for peaches recalled by Prima Wawona. More information on products recalled by Prima Wawona from the United States is available on CFIA’s website. The U.S. CDC also investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses with a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak.
In traceback investigations, the FDA identified multiple distributors, storage and packing facilities, and orchards that supplied peaches during the time period of interest. Both epidemiological information from case interviews and traceback information determined that peaches supplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company were the most likely source of the outbreak. Wawona packing facilities and orchards that supplied peaches to Prima Wawona were visited, but the cause of the outbreak was not determined. Over 570 product and environmental sample analyses from multiple facilities and peach orchards were completed. A genetic match to the outbreak strain was not identified in any of these samples. A different serotype of Salmonella, however, was identified in four samples collected from peach orchards during the investigation. No peaches related to these samples reached the marketplace.
The FDA and CDC presented existing epidemiological evidence to Wawona Packing Company, LLC on August 21, 2020. On August 22, 2020, fresh bulk and loose peaches from Prima/Wawona that were sold between June 1 and August 3, and bagged Wawona peaches sold between June 1 and August 19, nationwide were recalled in response to the outbreak. Lists of retailers that sold the affected products and product/PLU codes associated with the affected peaches are included on the FDA website. The outbreak was declared over on October 16, 2020 by the CDC, but the FDA continued its investigation to guarantee safer food practices at the firm.
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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.