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Salmonella Africana Outbreak Traced to Cucumbers


The May 31st edition of EGG-NEWS contained a report on an outbreak of Salmonella Africana involving 141 confirmed cases.  At the time of publication, the FDA had not issued any information on the possible vehicle of infection and the states where cases were diagnosed. As of June 4th 162 cases with 54 hospitalizations have been confirmed in 25 states.


This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture identified U.S. origin cucumbers distributed by Fresh Start Produce Sales in Delray, Florida as the vehicle of infection.  A recall has been implemented for whole cucumbers shipped from May 17th through May 21st to 14 states. The company noted, “Although these cucumbers are unlikely to still be at the marketplace, recalled product should not be consumed but discarded.”


Once again, state departments of agriculture and of health including those of Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Oregon and the CDC have demonstrated greater ability to identify the origin of foodborne disease outbreaks compared to the FDA.


Most recently it appears that there is a second outbreak attributed to cucumbers caused by Salmonella Braenderup involving patients in 23 states.


It is hoped that the reorganization and reassignment of responsibilities within the FDA agency will improve efficiency and performance to protect the health and safety of the nation. Frankly this commentator has reservations as to whether structure can change institutional culture. Ultimately the U.S. will establish an independent Food Safety and Nutrition Agency.