Cut fruit from a Middlesex County factory is the potential source of a salmonella outbreak concentrated in the Northeast, federal authorities said.
New Jersey reported a dozen people sickened by Salmonella Javiana – second only behind Delaware (39) and Pennsylvania (34) of the nearly 100 total cases in 11 states.
Neighboring New York State had four and Connecticut one.
The "Famous Fruit Luau" made by Tailor Cut Produce of North Brunswick wasn’t sold in stores, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control said.
The mix -- which includes honeydew melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes – was “sold for use in institutional food service establishments such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and hotels,” they said.
According to the FDA, ill people from elsewhere in the country reported traveling to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania or Delaware, the four states where the allegedly contaminated fruit was sold between Nov. 15 and Dec. 1.
Ill people range in age from infants to those in their early 90s. A fraction over half are male, the government said. Of 41 ill people with information available, 27 reportedly were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Tailor Cut Produce recalled the fruit last month.
By then, they “may have been distributed to nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other facilities that cater to vulnerable populations,” the FDA reported. “It is important that these facilities do not sell or serve them.
"Please consult with your distributor to confirm the source of the fruit mix and cut fruit used in your operation.”
Consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses.
The most common symptoms -- diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever – come within 12 to 72 hours. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.
Most people recover without treatment. But some get such severe diarrhea that they need to go to a hospital.
Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness.
Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between a person becoming ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 3 to 4 weeks.
The CDC produced a map identifying the affected states: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/javiana-12-19/index.html
Meanwhile, a joint investigation with the FDA continues.
The FDA recommends rinsing produce in clean running water -- without using cleaners or soaps -- and then drying it with a clean cloth towel or paper towel.
ALSO SEE: A company that makes meals and snacks for toddlers is recalling a product that it says contains egg and wheat, federal authorities announced Friday.
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