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Cucumbers Recalled Over Deadly Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

Dangerous cukes (Photo by Larry Hoffman via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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A Southern California cucumber supplier is the suspected source of a multi-state salmonella outbreak that killed two people and sickened hundreds.Authorities suspect the widespread outbreak of Salmonella Poona—a relatively rare strain of the bacteria—is linked to "slicer" cucumbers, grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, reports CNN. The variety of large, dark green cukes are typically sold in bulk without individual packaging and often sliced for prepared salads. The cucumbers are usually 7 to 10 inches in length with a diameter of 1.75 to 2.5 inches. The outbreak has sickened over 340 people in 30 states so far—over half of them children under 18—and is being blamed for one death in California and one in Texas, according to the CDC. At least 70 people have been hospitalized.

While California has had the highest number of reported illnesses, with 72 cases as of this week, and Arizona trailing close behind with 66, incidents have occurred across the country, including Alaska. As of last Friday, Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all of the cucumbers, which were sold from August 1 through early September under the "Limited Edition" label. According to the Orange County Register, the questionable cukes had been sold to restaurants retailers and other distributors in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

The company has declined to comment on exactly which supermarkets and restaurants received the recalled cucumbers, but are reportedly working closely with health officials in their investigation. “Every effort has been taken to remove this product from the market and we have stopped all harvesting and packing operations at the grower’s facility,” the company explained in a release.

Symptoms resulting to Salmonella Poona can include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Infants, older adults and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. Anyone experiencing severe diarrhea who has recently eaten cucumbers is urged to see a doctor.

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Consumers with questions can also contact the company at (844) 483-3864 or through their website.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the cucumbers as being sold under the "Special Edition" label, instead they are labeled "Limited Edition." We apologize for the error.