For additional details on this and other companies' fresh cucumber recalls, please see "Outbreak linked to fresh cucumbers is third since 2013" posted Sept. 10.
(UPDATED CONTENT, 11:10 a.m., Sept. 8) One person in California is dead and 284 others across 27 states have been confirmed to have salmonella illnesses linked to fresh Mexican cucumbers from Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.
The company recalled the cucumbers in the U.S. on Sept. 4 and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled the cucumbers Sept. 7. In Canada the cucumbers had been sold without a brand and also with the Safeway brand, according to the CFIA notice.
In the U.S., a Minnesota woman who developed a salmonella infection after eating a salad with cucumbers Aug. 11 at a Red Lobster restaurant filed a civil suit against Andrew & Williamson in federal court Sept. 7, seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.
She became sick Aug. 12 and was hospitalized from Aug. 14 through Aug. 28, according to the lawsuit. At least 10 of the 12 sick people in Minnesota reported eating at five Red Lobster restaurants before becoming ill, according to the court documents.
The Salmonella poona illnesses began July 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fifty-three of the people had to be hospitalized and more than half of the 285 victims are children younger than 18, the CDC reports.
"Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations have identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak," according to the CDC.
On Sept. 4, the San Diego, Calif., produce company recalled all of its Limited Edition cucumbers sold from Aug. 1 through Sept 3. Andrew & Williamson"s facility in Baja, Calif., packed and distributed the cucumbers in 21 states, according to the recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration website.
The recalled cucumbers "may have reached consumers" through to retailers, foodservice companies, wholesalers and brokers, according to the FDA notice.
"Labeling on the cases of recalled cucumbers indicates the product was grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico. Domestically produced cucumbers are not believed to be involved in this outbreak," according to the CDC.
More than a week before the recall, the CDC consulted with "experts from the produce industry" because the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency isolated salmonella from cucumbers collected during a visit to the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility.
"An industry consultation was held on Aug. 26 with four independent experts from the produce industry to obtain information regarding fresh produce harvesting and distribution in the affected region. The consultants provided information regarding crop production and distribution practices that helped assess the plausibility of cucumbers and other produce items as possible outbreak sources," according to the Sept. 4 CDC update posted.
Andrew & Williamson officials issued a statement Sept. 7.
"Since we were first notified of this situation by health officials, A& W has been cooperating with the government agencies involved in investigating the ongoing Salmonella poona outbreak and have been working non-stop in response to determine if, and how, our cucumbers are involved in the outbreak," according to the Sept. 7 statement sent by company partner Dave Murray.
Another notice on the Andrew & Williamson website states it has directly contacted all entities that may have received the cucumbers to help ensure a complete recall.
"Every effort has been taken to remove this product from the market, and we have stopped all harvesting and packing operations at the grower"s facility," CEO Fred Williamson said in the Sept. 7 statement. "If we have a problem, we are going to find it and we are going to fix it."
Andrew & Williamson distributed the whole, fresh cucumbers, often referred to as slicers or American cucumbers, in cartons that are black, green and yellow. The cucumbers were shipped to Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
The recall notice on the FDA website did not indicate specific companies that received the recalled cucumbers. However, the Andrew & Williamson website lists the following trading partners, but does not indicate which ones received the recalled cucumbers:
- Fresh & Easy
- Sam"s Club
- Save Mart Supermarkets
- United Supermarkets
- Whole Foods
- The Capital Grille
- In-N-Out Burger
- Olive Garden and
- Red Lobster.