Caito Foods has announced a recall of fresh cut fruit – the second in the last 12 months – after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked a Salmonella outbreak to their products. Caito’s fresh fruit products have been linked to 23 reports of hospitalizations, and more than 90 illnesses so far.
Salmonella Outbreak Leads to Recall
On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods announced a voluntary recall of several pre-cut fruit products produced at their facility in Indianapolis, IN. The recalled products include:
- Fresh cut watermelon
- Fresh cut honeydew melon
- Fresh cut cantaloupe
- All other fresh cut fruit mixes containing one of those melons
The melon products are linked with a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 93 people in nine states between March 4, 2019 and March 31, 2019. The strain of bacteria in this outbreak is Salmonella Carrau, and has affected consumers in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Caito Foods packaged the pre-cut melons in plastic clamshell containers. Consumers are urged not to consume products that may be included in the recall. Throw out recalled products or return them to the place of purchase.
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have urged retailers to comb their inventory of fresh fruit products for packages that may be recalled. All of the recalled packages will have an expiration date on or before April 18, 2019.
Caito Foods sold the tainted products to grocery stores and wholesalers, and the packages may bear either a retailer’s name or a clear generic label. The grocery store chains known to have purchased the tainted fruit include Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods.
What Consumers Should Know about Recalled Fruit Products
Consumers should be aware when purchasing pre-cut fruit products from retailers. If you cannot determine whether pre-cut melon is a Caito Foods product by the information on its label, do not purchase it. If you have pre-cut melon of undetermined origin in your home, discard it.
If you find any recalled product in your freezer or refrigerator, it’s important to discard the product and sanitize surfaces that may have been exposed to Salmonella. Sanitation is the key to preventing Salmonella from spreading to other foods you may store there. Consumers can prevent spreading of Salmonella by:
- Removing and discarding any foods not totally enclosed or sealed.
- Washing all interior and exterior surfaces with hot soapy water.
- Dry surfaces with a clean paper towel.
- Wipe down surfaces with a bleach solution to sanitize.
- Allow the surfaces to dry before replacing your food.
Wide-Reaching Salmonella Infections
This salmonella outbreak is wide-reaching, and could expand as reports are filed. Since Salmonella symptoms are not always immediately apparent, and because it can take weeks for information to make its way to the CDC, it is very likely there will be more victims reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested these contaminated melons may still be on store shelves. Caito Foods distributed the Salmonella-tainted food in 16 states.
So far, Ohio and Michigan have the highest numbers of infected victims with 27 and 19, respectively. Twenty-three of the Salmonella outbreak victims have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported at this time.
Due to the widespread nature of this Salmonella outbreak so close on the heels of the company’s last recall, Caito Foods announced it will temporarily suspend producing and distributing melon products. The company is currently under investigation by the FDA.
Second Salmonella-Related Food Recall for Caito Foods
In July 2018, Caito Foods issued a similar recall after the CDC traced an outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide to their facilities. That outbreak sickened 77 people in nine states. The subject of that recall was also melons, specifically pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, and cut-fruit medley with watermelon.
Nearly half of the foodborne illnesses in the United States each year are from fresh fruits and vegetables. Properly washing whole fruits and vegetables goes a long way towards preventing the foodborne illnesses they may harbor. Unfortunately, this best practice is obviously of no use in this particular outbreak because the products that made people sick were pre-cut and marketed as ready-to- eat. As a general rule, ready-to-eat foods carry a higher risk of spreading foodborne illness.
A New Year, a New Strain of Salmonella Outbreak
There are multiple strains of Salmonella, each with unique properties, symptoms, and possible risks. The strain of Salmonella in this outbreak is called Salmonella Carrau, and it is particularly dangerous to:
- Young children
- Elderly people
- People in poor health
- People with weakened immune systems
These groups can experience fatal complications from their infection. Even for a healthy adult, Salmonella Carrau can be quite serious. Healthy people infected with Salmonella will have these symptoms within 12-72 hours of exposure to the contaminated food:
- Diarrhea, often bloody
- Abdominal pain
People who are generally healthy will recover from Salmonella in 4-7 days, often with no medical treatment necessary. Some healthy adults will need to be hospitalized for dehydration secondary to their symptoms.
In some cases, Salmonella infections can spread to the bloodstream and cause further complications, especially among the vulnerable populations mentioned above. These complications can include:
- Arterial infections (infected aneurysms)
Most of the victims in this year’s Salmonella outbreak caused by Caito Foods are adults over the age of 50.
Questions? Talk to a Salmonella Outbreak Attorney
Companies that produce and distribute foods have a legal and moral responsibility to provide contaminant-free products to consumers. Management of the germs that cause foodborne illness should be of the utmost importance for a company with a distribution as wide as Caito Foods. Sadly, their negligent food safety practices have infected almost 200 people with Salmonella in the last year.
Victims of a Salmonella outbreak have rights when a company’s flagrant disregard for public safety causes them harm. If you or someone you love has suffered illness or required medical treatment because of this Salmonella outbreak, Bad Food Recall attorneys want to help you.
Consumers can get answers to their legal questions by calling 1-877-534-5750 to speak with one of our attorneys. To schedule a free consultation, submit our contact form.