Apr 17, 2019
Caito Foods recalls fresh-cut melon clamshells linked to illnesses

Photo: FDA

Caito Foods is voluntarily recalling a variety of fresh-cut melon products that were distributed in 16 states, saying they’re investigating reports of illnesses linked to the products.

The voluntary recall includes fresh cut watermelon, fresh cut honeydew melon, fresh cut cantaloupe and fresh cut mixed fruit containing one of these melons, produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis.

According to the recall statement from the company, the recall products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Carrau, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

“Reports of illnesses linked to these products are under investigation, and Caito Foods is voluntarily recalling the products out of an abundance of caution,” according to the statement from Caito Foods. “The company has been advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it has linked 93 illnesses to the strain of salmonella under investigation. Caito Foods has temporarily suspended producing and distributing these products as the company and FDA continue their investigations.”

The potential that these products are contaminated with salmonella was discovered through information gathered by state departments of public health, according to the company’s statement.

“FDA worked with CDC and state partners to trace the distribution of pre-cut melon mixes from individual-case patients back to Caito Foods,” the FDA said in its own statement. “FDA is also continuing its traceback investigation to identify the specific source of these melons. Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of salmonella but has been historically seen in imported melons. Reports from Caito Foods indicate that imported melons were used in the suspect pre-cut melon mixes. FDA’s traceback investigation is examining shipping records to try to determine a country and if possible, a farm of origin for the melons.”

The 93 reported illnesses occurred in nine states and included 23 hospitalizations, according to the FDA.

“Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection,” according to the FDA’s statement. “The illness, salmonellosis, usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.”

“FDA and Indiana authorities are currently inspecting and investigating, to include collecting samples for laboratory analysis, at the Caito Foods LLC processing facility where these melons were cut and packed,” according to the FDA’s statement.

The recalled products were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers and distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Caito and the FDA. A full list of recalled products is available online.

Caito Foods and SpartanNash Company supply to independent retailers, so it is important to look at the label description and brand information to identify the product, according to the company’s statement.

Retailers and wholesale customers should check their inventories and shelves to confirm that none of the products are present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories, according to the company. Please contact 844-467-7278 Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. central time and Saturday and Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. central time to arrange for disposal or return of the product.

Consumers seeking information may call 844-467-7278 Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. central time and Saturday and Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. central time.

The FDA also said that Caito Foods was linked to a similar outbreak in 2018 involving a different strain, Salmonella Adelaide, also in pre-cut melon products.

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