The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public to the ongoing investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Javiana. Epidemiologic evidence and traceback efforts suggest that the outbreak may be linked to a fruit mix with cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, and grapes distributed by the New Brunswick, New Jersey based firm Tailor Cut Produce.
The investigation began when state officials in Pennsylvania reported a Salmonella outbreak at 4 health care facilities. The investigation has discovered 33 laboratory confirmed illnesses of Salmonella thus far. Salmonella Javiana has specifically been confirmed at 3 of the 4 health care facilities.
Tailor Cut Produce was alerted to the results of the investigation by the FDA on December 6, 2019, at which point the firm’s leadership announced that they would implement a recall of the products.
The company issued a recall of the fruit mix product and other cut honeydew, cut cantaloupe, and cut pineapple products. Recalled products were distributed in 4 states between November 15 and December 1, 2019.
Tailor Cut Produce believes that the products may still be found in restaurants, hotels, schools, banquet facilities, and institutional food service establishments.
The products may have been distributed to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other facilities that cater to populations which are more vulnerable to Salmonella. The FDA emphasizes that is important that these facilities do not sell or serve these products and should consult distributors to confirm the source of the fruit mix and cut fruit used at their facilities.
Restaurants and retailers are advised to practice safe food handling and preparation. These measures include frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces, washing hands with hot water and soap, washing display cases and refrigerators, and washing utensils used to prepare or serve foods.
Consumers are advised to wash and sanitize the shelves or walls of the refrigerator, cutting boards, or any other surface which may have contacted contaminated food. When preparing fruits, produce items should be rinsed in clean water without the use of soap, regardless of whether consumers intend to eat the skin of the produce. After washing, produce should be dried with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria.
This is an ongoing investigation and the FDA will provide updates as they become available.
For the most recent case counts in the Salmonella outbreak with a link to fruit salad, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.