The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting on a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 60 people, with a little over half of them currently hospitalized.
Thirty-one people have been rushed to the emergency room after eating fresh melon contaminated with salmonella, which they had bought pre-cut and packaged "in clear, plastic clamshell containers" from a variety of stores supplied by the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The contaminated melon was sold in eight states across the U.S. by stores including Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen's, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon.
The products have been associated with salmonella infection, of which 60 people have fallen sick so far in five different states. According to CNN, six people have contracted salmonella infection in Illinois, 11 in Indiana, 32 in Michigan, 10 in Missouri, and one in Ohio.
As a result, Caito Foods has recalled the contaminated product on June 8, but not before the pre-cut melons tainted with salmonella had also reached Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
"The investigation is ongoing to determine if products went to additional stores or states," states the CDC report.
CNN notes that some of the major stores removed the salmonella-contaminated melon from their shelves as early as June 7, particularly Walmart, Kroger, Jay C, and Payless.The CDC advises everyone who might still have some Caito Foods melon products at home to discard them.
"Check your fridge and freezer for them and throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a refund," state CDC officials. "If you don't remember where you bought pre-cut melon, don't eat it and throw it away."
As per the CDC report, the warning applies only to "fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons" that have the Caito Foods label on.CNN clarifies that whole melons are not thrown in the same pile and that the salmonella contamination was only detected in pre-cut melon and fruit salad mixes containing melon.
"Most of the ill people reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, or a fruit salad mix with melon purchased from grocery stores," shows the CDC report.
Salmonella infection symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and can settle in within 12 to 72 hours from the moment the bacterium enters the body. These symptoms typically last for no longer than a week.
While most people can get over the salmonella infection symptoms without the need of treatment, in some cases the diarrhea is so severe that the affected people need to check into the hospital.