An unknown number of people have become ill from cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Friday.
The agency is recalling Malichita, Save on Foods and Urban Fare brands of cantaloupe products, including not only whole melons, but also pre-cut pieces, fruit salads and trays containing the fruit.
The reported illnesses are linked to Malichita cantaloupes, the food inspection agency said in an updated food recall warning released Friday.
The BC Center for Disease Control website currently lists eight confirmed cases in British Columbia.
And Public Health Ontario confirmed in an email that a case has been identified in this province.
“The investigation into the outbreak is still ongoing, so cases may continue to be confirmed,” the email said.
The affected Malichita cantaloupes were sold between October 11 and November 14 inclusive, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said.
He said the affected Save on Foods and Urban Fare products have best before dates up to and including November 9.
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Malichita cantaloupes have been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and -Labrador and “possibly in other provinces and territories,” the food inspection agency said.
Save on Foods and Urban Fare products have been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon, he adds.
Consumers should throw away all affected products, the food inspection agency said, noting that foods contaminated with salmonella “may not look or smell spoiled, but can still make people sick “.
“If you think you may have become ill after consuming a recalled product, contact your health care provider,” it says.
Symptoms usually appear between six and 72 hours after exposure. They may include chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and a sudden headache.
Most people recover on their own within a week, but some may become more seriously ill and require hospitalization.
Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness from salmonella.
Cantaloupes recalled due to possible salmonella contamination
There have been five major outbreaks of salmonella in cantaloupes in Canada and the United States in “the last decade,” said Lawrence Goodridge, a food safety professor at the University of Guelph.
“Cantaloupe can become contaminated when melons come into contact with manure, soil, compost or water containing salmonella” while growing, Goodridge said, adding that contamination often comes from animals and d birds defecating on the field.
It can also happen during cantaloupe processing, he said. Although they are usually washed with chlorinated water, the rough texture of the skin can make it “difficult” to clean bacteria from the crevices.
Salmonella on the surface gets into the cantaloupe when it is cut, Goodridge said.
“Flesh is a very good place for bacteria to grow because it has a lot of water, a lot of nutrients and the pH is almost neutral,” he said.
It is possible to become infected by handling the exterior of the cantaloupe if there is a high concentration of salmonella on the skin and the person then touches their mouth or other raw foods, he said, but Most salmonella illnesses are caused by eating the cantaloupe itself.
Pre-cut fruits, including melon, are believed to be at the heart of the latest salmonella outbreak in the United States
Although people should throw out the cantaloupes affected by the current recall, Goodridge noted that they can also take steps to reduce the risk of salmonella from eating cantaloupe in general.
Melons should be washed under running tap water while the thick outer skin is scrubbed with a brush, he explained.
If the cantaloupe is too heavy to hold in one hand while rubbing it with the other, people can put it in a colander and brush off all the dirt, then pour boiling water over it, he said. explain.
Cantaloupe should also be stored in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth, Goodridge said.
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