3rd US death reported in salmonella outbreak linked to tainted cantaloupe

A third person has died in the U.S. from a salmonella outbreak tied to tainted cantaloupe, health officials reported on Thursday — in addition to five people in Canada.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration shared an update on the outbreak, reporting that at least 230 people have become ill across 38 states since mid-November. A total of 96 have been hospitalized. 

Canada also has reported at least 129 salmonella cases, including five deaths.

Many of the people who fell ill reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe in clamshell packages and trays sold in stores. Consumers should not buy, eat or serve cantaloupe if they don’t know the source, health officials said.

Recall of tainted cantaloupe expands

The salmonella outbreak has been tied to cantaloupes grown in Mexico and sold as Rudy and Malichita brands, according to the FDA. 

Health officials said the Malichita and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes might have a sticker that says "Malichita" or "Rudy," with the number "4050," and "Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique."

Pre-cut cantaloupes, made from the recalled whole fruit, have been sold at stores like Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Aldi, the agency said.


FILE - Containers with pre-cut cantaloupe in a cooler case. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The expanded recalls announced this week have been added to a growing list, the FDA said. 

Last week, Cut Fruit Express initiated a recall of cantaloupe chunks and fruit mixes containing cantaloupe. On Tuesday, TGD Cuts, LLC launched a recall of specific fresh fruit cup, clamshell and tray products that contained cantaloupe from the company TruFresh.

Health officials are still working to determine whether additional products are linked to the illnesses.

"(The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is concerned about this outbreak because the illnesses are severe and people in long-term care facilities and childcare centers have gotten sick," the agency noted in its own warning. "Do not eat pre-cut cantaloupes if you don’t know whether Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes were used."

Salmonella can cause serious illness in young children, people older than 65 and those with weakened immune systems.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.