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A Florida-based company is recalling cucumbers from more than a dozen states after testing showed the presence of Salmonella in the produce, the FDA reported last week. 

According to the FDA, the recall affects whole cucumbers shipped by Fresh Start Produce Sales Inc. of Delray, Florida between May 17th and May 21st. The states affected include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

The recall does not include mini cucumbers or English cucumbers. 

The FDA stated that the recall was initiated after the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture informed the company that a product sample tested positive for the bacteria. The FDA added that the cucumbers “are unlikely in the marketplace,” but that anyone with the recalled product should destroy it and discard it, or return it to the place of purchase for refund. 

The FDA also said it is investigating if the cucumbers are related to an ongoing investigation of a Salmonella Africana outbreak that has sickened at least 141 people.  

Food that is contaminated with Salmonella typically does not appear spoiled. The infection can cause symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, and illness that lasts four to seven days. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk.  

Salmonella: Officially an adulterant in some chicken products  

In March, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a determination that Salmonella is an adulterant in some chicken products, making it illegal to sell chicken products if they are contaminated with the bacteria. Such products will also be subject to a recall.  

Salmonella must be present in levels not exceeding 1 colony-forming unit per gram to be considered an adulterant. 

After the determination was made, Food Safety magazine reported that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will sample and test incoming raw chicken before stuffing and breading to ensure salmonella controls are in place.  

The decision went into effect last week two years after Sandra Eskin of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) told Food Safety News that “it is an important step because, for the first time, we have declared Salmonella to be an adulterant,” adding that the USDA is “developing a comprehensive strategy” for dealing with the pathogen. 

Centers for Disease Control statistics state that breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with at least 14 salmonella outbreaks and more than 200 illnesses since 1988.

Is rapid detection on the way?

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded a $611,000 grant to researchers at the University at Albany to develop a rapid salmonella detection kit for food products.

If successful, the tests will cut the time needed to detect Salmonella in food from several days to a matter of hours.

A food safety recall like the one carried out this week by Fresh Start Produce Sales Inc. can be ruinous to a company’s bottom line and reputation. To learn more about how you can mitigate the risk of such a recall, join us next Wednesday for the Rootwurks webinar “How to Prevent Food Safety Recalls” here.



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Ben Hartman, Content Manager

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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