International Salmonella outbreak linked to melons
Melons have been linked to a Salmonella outbreak that has affected 200 people in more than 10 countries.
Patients have been reported in Denmark, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland. Illnesses started in late March, Food Safety News reports.
Czech Republic and Spain have also recorded recent Salmonella Braenderup infections, but it is not yet clear if they belong to this outbreak.
The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported that the source is thought to be whole honeydew, cantaloupe and galia melons from Costa Rica, Honduras or Brazil.
Most UK retailers are believed to have stocked the affected melons bought on or before May 28 but they have now been removed from sale.
One person is ill in Canada with symptom onset of March 8. The 53-year old male has no history of travel.
Consumers can identify the country of origin from a sticker on the fruit. If people are not sure about where the galia, cantaloupe or honeydew melon came from they are advised not to eat it.
“As a precaution we are advising people not to eat these melons and to dispose of them. It is important that consumers wash their hands and any surfaces that have been in contact with the melons thoroughly. This will help avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the risk of illness," said Tina Potter, head of incidents for the Food Standards Agency.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is supporting an international outbreak investigation.
“This is a rapidly evolving international outbreak with more than 200 cases of Salmonella Braenderup," it said.
"There is a predominance of women among the cases. Given the extent of cases within but also outside of the EU, it is likely to be a food item with a wide geographical distribution.”
There are 27 identified cases in Denmark, five in Norway, 36 in Sweden, 42 in Belgium, 12 in the Netherlands, five in Finland, one in France, four in Ireland, 49 in Germany, four in the Czech Republic, two in Spain, and 15 in Switzerland.