CDC warns residents in eight U.S. states of cut-fruit Salmonella outbreak

Under a very high magnification of 12000X, this colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a large grouping of Gram-negative Salmonella bacteria. REUTERS/Janice Haney Carr/CDC/Handout

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday urged residents of eight U.S. states to check for recalled pre-cut melon that is linked to an outbreak of Salmonella.

The FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control are investigating an outbreak linked to 60 illnesses and at least 31 hospitalizations in five states. No deaths have been reported and the agencies urged residents in the eight states to throw out any melon that may have been recalled.

On Friday, Caito Foods LLC, a unit of SpartanNash Co, recalled fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fresh-cut mixed fruit products containing one of those melons produced at a Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis.

The recalled products were distributed to Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio and sold in clear, plastic containers at stores including Costco Wholesale Corp, Kroger Co, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart Inc, and Whole Foods, a unit of Inc.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a Twitter post late on Sunday urged people in the eight states to check the “fridge and freezer for recalled pre-cut melon linked to Salmonella outbreak.”

Of the 60 cases reported to date, 32 were reported in Michigan.

“Reports of illnesses linked to these products are under investigation, and Caito Foods is voluntarily recalling the products out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a statement, adding it “has ceased producing and distributing these products as the company and FDA continue their investigation.”

Salmonella can result in serious illness and produce significant and potentially fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems the company said.

The CDC said evidence suggested that melon supplied by Caito Foods “is a likely source of this multistate outbreak.”

The investigation is ongoing to determine if products went to additional stores or states, the agencies said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Recalled vegetables linked to E. Coli outbreak at Costco stores

A tainted mix of celery and onions appears to be at fault for a multi-state E. Coli outbreak.

Taylor Farms Pacific recalled a list of products on Thursday after a link to the outbreak tied to Costco stores was discovered, according to a notice on the Food & Drug Administration website.

The California-based manufacturer produced a diced-vegetable mix that tested positive for E. Coli, according to the posting. It was used in a rotisserie chicken salad that was sold at Costco.

The vast majority of the 19 people infected with the bacteria reported buying or eating the salad before they got sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infections have been reported in Montana, Utah, California, Washington, Colorado, Missouri and Virginia.

The recall is being conducted “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the FDA.

Costco has stopped selling and producing the salad, the CDC noted. It encourages anyone who bought the product to throw it out, even if some has been eaten and no one has fallen ill.

The particular strain of E. Coli bacteria associated with the Costco outbreak is known to be deadly.

Reuters reported it’s the same one to blame for the 1993 outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants. Four children died and hundreds more became sick after eating undercooked hamburgers.

No deaths have been reported this time, but the CDC says five people have been hospitalized and two people have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Costco Bible Controversy Expands

Costco released an apology yesterday for Bibles at a California store being labeled as fiction. Now, a woman in Missouri has discovered Bibles labeled as fiction in a store in Manchester, Missouri.

Not only were the Bibles labeled fiction, they were put in a display with Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Mary-Margaret Meyers-Walker said she offered to move the Bibles to the correct section of the store. She called the regional office and was told that the store apparently never received the memo to move the Bibles.

Meyers-Walker said she visited the store because she had heard of the controversy in California.

The local management refused to talk to St. Louis area station KMOX about the incident.

Costco Apologizes For Labeling Bibles Fiction

Costco has released a statement apologizing for at least one of their stores selling Bibles with a label on them that read “fiction.”

“We deeply regret the mislabeling of the Bible and meant no offense to anyone,” read an e-mail statement. “The buyer has let us know that this was an error and the books are being pulled off the shelves to be re-marked.”

Fox News says Costco sent them a statement claiming their distributor made a mislabeling mistake on a small percentage of Bibles but that the company should have spotted and corrected the mistake before the books were placed on store shelves.

A pastor in Simi Valley, California who snapped a picture of the Bible and posted it on twitter first discovered the labeling. The photo of the Bible went viral and led to hundreds of complaints to Costco’s offices.