Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Pre-Cut Melons

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Posted April 12, 2019 at 9:30 PM ET

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections linked to pre-cut melons supplied by Caito Foods LLC.

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers
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At A Glance
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Do not eat, serve, or sell recalled pre-cut melon and fruit medley products produced by Caito Foods, LLC and sold under several brands and labels.

  • On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC recalledExternal pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons supplied at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
    • These products were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
    • Check FDA’s websiteExternal for a full list of where recalled products were sold.
    • Recalled pre-cut melons were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers.
    • Caito Foods LLC and SpartanNash Company (a Caito Foods LLC distributor) supply to independent retailers, so it is important to look at the label description and brand information to identify the product.
  • If you cannot determine if pre-cut melon you purchased was produced by Caito Foods LLC, don’t eat it and throw it away.
  • Check your fridge and freezer for recalled products and throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a refund. Follow these steps to clean your fridge if you had any recalled product.
  • CDC will update the advice to consumers and retailers when more information is available.

Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from consuming pre-cut melon.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following signs and symptoms 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated product:
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Abdominal cramps
Latest Outbreak Information
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  • A total of 93 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Carrau have been reported from 9 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from March, 4, 2019, to March, 31, 2019.
    • 23 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
    • Most of the ill people are adults over the age of 50.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that pre-cut melons supplied by Caito Foods LLC are the likely source of this outbreak.
  • On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC recalledExternal pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
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  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Investigation Details

April 12, 2019

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS showed that isolates from ill people were closely relatedly genetically. This means that people in this outbreak were more likely to share a common source of infection.

The multistate investigation began on April 2, 2019, when PulseNet identified the outbreak. As of April 12, 2019, 93 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Carrau have been reported from nine states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 4, 2019, to March 31, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than one to 98 years, with a median age of 53. Fifty-seven percent are female. Of 53 people with information available, 23 (43%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Thirty (77%) of 39 people interviewed reported eating pre-cut melons purchased from grocery stores, including pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or a fruit salad mix or fruit tray with melon. Four additional people reported eating pre-cut melon outside the home.

Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicates that Caito Foods LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods, Inc. recalledExternal  pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.