Caito Foods has ceased producing fresh-cut melon products as health authorities investigate an outbreak of salmonella traced to the products. ( File photo )

(UPDATED 7:15 p.m.) Caito Foods, Indianapolis, is recalling fresh-cut honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon products shipped to retailers in nine states after health authorities linked them to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 60 people.

The melon products were shipped to Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco and other retailers, according to a news release from Caito posted June 9 on the Food and Drug Administration’s recalled products website.

The illnesses have been reported in five of the eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The vegetable trays were also shipped to Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina. On June 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Iowa to the list of states receiving the products, but did not increase the number of illnesses.

The products are in clamshells in various sizes. They include fresh-cut honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon in separate packs, but also melon medley packs of all three varieties. All products have best by/use by dates of April 27 to June 16.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed Caito of the outbreak, and the company initiated the recall, according to the news release. The company has stopped producing the products, which came from a plant in Indianapolis.

Retailers are being asked to remove the products, but consumers are also being advised about the outbreak and removal from stores “because it is possible that products shipped between April 17 and June 7, 2018, could still be on shelves.”

The Salmonella Adelaide outbreak was discovered through analysis of reports from state health departments, according to the release.

The FDA is working with the CDC and health agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio on tracing the fresh-cut melons to identify the source and distribution of the melons.

Michigan has the most number of cases, with 32 people with the Salmonella Adelaide strain. The reported illness onset dates range from April 30 to May 28. Among 47 with “available information,” 31 have been hospitalized, according to a June 9 update from the FDA.

For a full list of all recalled melon products including Universal Product Codes, see the FDA website.

As she in the past, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., issued a statement that is critical of foodborne illness outbreaks and lengthy investigations into their source.

“Both the size and scale of this outbreak underscore how harmful contaminated food can be for consumers and their families," according to her statement. "While I welcome news that CDC and FDA have identified the manufacturer and initiated a recall, many important questions remain unanswered.

"Both agencies, along with their state counterparts, must continue a full and thorough investigation that determines what deficiencies led to this outbreak. That is the only way similar outbreaks can be prevented in the future.”

 
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