When the Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon from Caito Foods ended, the FDA’s investigation into the company didn’t.  Food Safety Lawyer Brendan Flaherty says there are a couple of reasons why the agency may have chosen to keep the investigation going.  First, this is the second Salmonella outbreak within the last 12 months linked to pre-cut fruit produced at the company’s Indianapolis facility. Second, the hospitalization rates in both outbreaks were higher than average.

Attorney - Brendan Flaherty

Attorney – Brendan Flaherty

“Any time there is an outbreak, investigators look carefully at the facility where the food was produced. But when there are two outbreaks within one year and people got really sick, it isn’t surprising that the FDA is taking more time,” he said.

Brendan is part of the Pritzker Hageman Salmonella Team that filed the first lawsuit against Caito in the 2018 outbreak. That outbreak sickened 77 people in nine states, hospitalizing 36 of them with Salmonella Adelaide infections.

The 2019 outbreak sickened 137 people in 10 states hospitalizing 38 people with Salmonella Carrau infections. Usually, about 20 percent of people sickened in a Salmonella outbreak will require hospitalization. In both of these outbreaks, the rate was higher – 28 percent in 2019, 47 percent in 2018.

Both outbreaks were linked to pre-cut melon sold at grocery stores. When the FDA examined the supply chain, they discovered Caito supplied the fruit to the stores where the case-patients shopped before they became ill including Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods. On April 12, 2019, Caito issued a recall for pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and mixes that contain these fruits and others.

The 10 states that reported illnesses in this outbreak were:  Alabama (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (7), Indiana (26), Kentucky (26), Michigan (22), Missouri (3), Minnesota (8), Ohio (42) and Wisconsin (1).

Related

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MELON BRANDS RECALLED FOR SALMONELLA INCLUDE WHOLE FOODS, TRADER JOE’SPRE-CUT MELON SALMONELLA OUTBREAK SICKENS 16 IN KENTUCKY, LAWSUIT FILED
PRE-CUT MELON SALMONELLA OUTBREAK EXPANDS, 117 SICKMELON SALMONELLA OUTBREAK UPDATE: FDA’S 22-PAGE LIST OF STORES

Bowls of cubed melon

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