A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections linked to cucumbers is under joint investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and other states.
The national investigation implicates “slicer,” or “American” cucumbers supplied by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce (San Diego, California) as a source of the outbreak. Andrew & Williamson has voluntarily recalled these cucumbers, which are dark green and typically between seven and 10 inches long.
Cucumbers from Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce were grown in Baja California, Mexico. Cucumbers grown in Minnesota and in other parts of the the United States are not part of the recall, nor are other types of cucumbers. Types not included in the recall include “English” cucumbers, which are usually longer and sold wrapped in plastic, and “Persian,” or mini cucumbers.
In Minnesota, 12 cases have been identified as part of the national outbreak. At least 10 cases were exposed to contaminated cucumbers at five Red Lobster locations.
Recalled cucumbers were received by Red Lobster restaurants and other Minnesota companies. Investigations to determine specific companies that received recalled cucumbers are still ongoing.
Red Lobster pulled cucumbers from all of its restaurants on Sept. 4 even though a large majority of cases nationally were not exposed at a Red Lobster restaurant. The restaurant chain has been a vital partner in the Minnesota investigation and has played an important role in helping to solve the national outbreak. Confirmed cases in other states involved grocery stores, retailers and other restaurants.
The 12 confirmed cases in Minnesota range in age from 8 to 79 and are from nine metro and greater Minnesota counties. Their illnesses began August 13, through August 25. Eighty percent of those who got sick were female. Six were hospitalized; all are recovering.
Consumers should not eat cucumbers recalled by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. If people are unsure whether cucumbers they bought are from Andrew & Williamson, they should contact the place where they bought them. If they have any doubts about whether their cucumbers were recalled, they should not eat them and should throw them away.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but they can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in five to seven days, but approximately 28 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases require hospitalization. Invasive infections (e.g., blood stream infections, meningitis) occasionally occur. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.