Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Food recall: salmonella in pre-cut cantaloupes spread to other melons

Food recall: salmonella in pre-cut cantaloupes spread to other melons

Salmonella outbreaks linked to the Malichita & Rudy brand cantaloupes } cross-contamination to watermelon, honeydew, pineapple

cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, food safety
A food recall by Health Canada for cantaloupes can been extended to watermelons and honeydew melons, Nov 24, 2023.

Monday November 27, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated December 8 & 15, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends

UPDATE DECEMBER 15, 2023 from Health Canada:

A sixth death now reported, along with a current total of 53 people hospitalized and 153 lab-confirmed cases. Most cases among elderly in long-term care and retirement homes, as well as among young children in day care.

UPDATE DECEMBER 8, 2023 from Health Canada:

  • Now 129 people have become ill from the Salmonella associated with the melon contamination (nearly double the number of cases since December 1, when there was just a single reported death); five people now have died. Case count: 91 in Quebec, 17 Ontario, 15 BC, and two each in New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador. The majority of the individuals who became sick are children 5 years of age or younger (35%), or adults 65 years of age or older (45%).
  • CFIA issued food recall warnings on November 1, November 14 and November 17 for Malichita brand cantaloupes sold in Canada between October 11 and November 14, 2023. On November 24, 2023, CFIA updated the food recall warning to also include Rudy brand cantaloupes sold in Canada between October 10 and November 24, 2023. Additional secondary recalls have been issued for products that were made using recalled cantaloupes and for produce items that were processed alongside recalled cantaloupes.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not cook food for other people.

===== AS POSTED NOVEMBER 27, 2023: =====

On Friday November 24, Health Canada issued a recall on cantaloupes, specifically the brands Malichita and Rudy.

That was due to reported Salmonella outbreaks linked to the Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes.

The impact reached across five provinces: BC, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The recall was extended to pre-cut pineapple, honeydew, and watermelon due to cross-contamination on surfaces in work areas where the cantaloupe was being processed.

Spread during food handling:

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The Salmonella bacteria can be spread by food handlers who do not wash their hands and/or the surfaces and tools they use between food preparation steps, and when people eat raw or undercooked foods. 

Grow and buy local, cook at home:

It’s worth noting how much our food and menu expectations in Canada rely on ‘out of season’ produce, as well as consumer reliance or expectation on pre-cut/prepared foods.

These are good reasons to grow your own fruits and vegetables where and when you can, as well as to buy and eat locally. Preparing food at home significantly reduces the opportunity for contamination during meal preparation.

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