Another Person Has Died Amid Ongoing Cantaloupe Recalls

USA agencies have updated available information for a cantaloupe recall first posted on November 17, 2023. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), another person has died from salmonella poisoning related to consuming cantaloupe. That brings the number of known U.S. deaths to three people as of December 7, along with 35 new hospitalizations for a total thus far of 96. Overall illnesses continue to grow as well, numbering 230 people spanning 38 U.S. states. Canada also reports five deaths and numerous illnesses tied to the outbreak.

Many salmonella infections historically go unreported, making it impossible to know the full extent of the current outbreak. The CDC urges consumers to be aware of symptoms emerging within six hours to six days after eating the recalled cantaloupes, whether whole or pre-cut. Symptoms can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and dehydration, depending on severity. Milder cases sometimes resolve after four to seven days without medical intervention, though young children under age five, adults age 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems can be more susceptible to severe illness.

The recalled melons in their whole, uncut form may bear labels of "Malichita" or "Ruby" with a number of "4050" and the identification "Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique." But it's harder to identify pre-cut cantaloupe appearing in chunks or fresh-fruit cups, fruit bowls, medleys, and seasonal fruit trays. The FDA maintains ongoing reports from retailers selling packaged cut cantaloupe from potentially affected melons.

Ongoing updates and affected melons identified

Salmonella cases from the current cantaloupe recall spring from widespread distribution across American grocery retailers. The FDA has thus far identified several companies as suppliers of the infected whole "Malachita" or "Ruby" melons, including Crown Jewels Produce, Pacific Trellis, and Sophia Produce doing business as TruFresh.

On the consumer end, individual grocery stores and supermarkets are reporting the various labels, recommended use dates, and states or stores in which they have sold the recalled cantaloupes in pre-cut or repackaged forms. Consumers can follow ongoing FDA updates coming from major or specialty grocers such as Aldi, Kroger, Trader Joe's, Walmart, and Sprouts Farmers Market, as well as Kwik Trip stores and packaged produce suppliers such as TGD Cuts and Bix Produce.

Sell By and Use By dates of the pre-cut cantaloupes generally begin in late October and have so far continued into early December. It's important to note that bacteria such as salmonella can survive in frozen foods, so toss out any frozen cantaloupe that could be related to this recall. As the safety saying goes: If in doubt, throw it out.