"FDA officials are actively investigating potential sources of the outbreak, and will continue to update the public as more specific information becomes available," according to a statement on the FDA's Coordinated Outbreak and Response (CORE) Network website.
"In the course of their investigation, state officials in Kentucky and Indiana found evidence that they believe indicate cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana may be a source of the ongoing Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak," the FDA notice states.
As of Aug. 17, the FDA reported states included in the outbreak and the number of illnesses were: Alabama 7, Arkansas 3, California 2, Georgia 1, Illinois 17, Indiana 13, Iowa 7, Kentucky 50, Michigan 6, Minnesota 3, Missouri 9, Mississippi 2, New Jersey 1, North Carolina 3, Ohio 3, Pennsylvania 2, South Carolina 3, Tennessee 6, Texas 1 and Wisconsin 2.
The Indiana Department of Health issued a consumer alert Aug. 17 urging consumers to throw out all Indiana-grown cantaloupes they bought since July 7.
"The Indiana State Department of Health is investigating farms in Southwest Indiana as well as distributors and retailers, as potential sources of the outbreak," according to the alert.
Amy Reel, director of public affairs for the Indiana Department of Health, said one grower voluntarily began a "market withdrawl" and had stopped shipping cantaloupes.
"We don't call it a recall because it is voluntary and we don't want anyone to mistakenly think the grower is being forced to take this action," Reel said. "But the process has begun."
Indiana officials said 14 residents and more than 140 people nationwide have been sickened by the same strain of salmonella found in the Southwest Indiana cantaloupes.
Before Indiana's alert, Kentucky health officials announced they linked a salmonella outbreak to cantaloupes from Indiana.
Tennessee health officials said that at least six salmonella cases in the state are from the same strain. No cantaloupes grown in Tennessee or Kentucky have been linked to the outbreak.
"Cantaloupes grown on one farm have tested positive for the same type of salmonella causing illnesses in Tennessee and several other states," according to the alert from the Tennessee departments of health and agriculture.
State and federal officials apparently identified at least one Indiana grower whose cantaloupe have tested positive for the specific strain of salmonella, but the grower has not been named.
“It is an ongoing investigation so we are not yet releasing the names of any growers,” said Beth Fisher, public information officer with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Officials are not sure if any of the implicated cantaloupes are still available for sale, Fisher said.
The salmonella outbreak began in early July. Fisher said investigators linked it to cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana by patient interviews, lab tests on patients and tests of cantaloupes matching the specific strain of salmonella affecting Kentucky residents.