Melon Salmonella Outbreak and Litigation - Multistate (2018)


Salmonella lawyers at Marler Clark represented one of the victims in this outbreak, achieving settlements covering medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. At this time, this case has been successfully settled.

In June 2018, CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections.

The products were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers and distributed in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. The pre-cut melon sold at Walmart, Costco, Jay C, Payless, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Walgreens and Kroger stores.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE.

As of July 24, 2018, 77 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Adelaide had been reported from seven states: Arkansas (1), Florida (11), Illinois (7), Indiana (14), Kentucky (1), Michigan (39), Missouri (11), Ohio (2), and Tennessee (1). The CDC determined that the outbreak is over.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 30, 2018, to July 2, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 97, with a median age of 67. Sixty-seven percent were female. Out of 63 people with information available, 36 (51%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and preliminary traceback evidence indicated that pre-cut melon supplied by the Caito Foods, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana was a likely source of this multistate outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Thirty-six (64%) of 56 people interviewed reported eating pre-cut melon purchased from grocery stores, including cantaloupe, watermelon, or a fruit salad mix with melon. An additional seven people reported consuming melons but did not specify if it was pre-cut.

Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicates that Caito Foods, LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On June 8, 2018, Caito Foods, LLC recalled fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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