Friday, February 23, 2024

BC-wide Salmonella outbreak from infected cantaloupes results in one Canadian death


A North American recall on cantaloupes was initiated by both Canadian and American food safety authorities following numerous positive Salmonella infections across the two countries. 

In Canada, one person has died as a result and in America, two have succumbed to their infections.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating along with provincial health authorities. 

In Canada, there have been outbreaks in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

According to investigators, the produce brands Malichita and Rudy are what people should be avoiding at all costs.

“Based on the investigation findings to date, consumption of Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes have been identified as the likely source of the outbreak.,” said the PHAC in a public health notice earlier this week. 

“Many of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten cantaloupe before their illnesses occurred.”

The first recall was initiated on November 1st, with subsequent recalls coming down the line on November 14th and 17th, when the Salmonella outbreak was at its height. 

Specifically, cantaloupes sold between October 11th and November 14th are of concern.


Since the initial recall, other fruit like honeydew, pineapple, watermelon and various fruit trays have also been recalled from shelves. 

“If you are unable to verify the brand of cantaloupe, or if your produce is part of the CFIA recalls, it is recommended to throw it out,” the PHAC warns.  

In total, 63 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella have been detected with 12 of them being based in BC. 

Symptoms of this sometimes-deadly infection begin six to 72-hours after exposure and typically last four to seven days. 

These symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and abdominal cramps.

Salmonella can spread by person to person contact and contaminated surfaces and is highly contagious. 

As of Sunday, November 26th, no new cases have been reported.

Curtis Blandy

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