According to reports, produce lovers in at least 27 states should be keeping a watchful eye out for some recalled, potentially unsafe veggies — specifically, cucumbers. On Friday, distribution company Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce initiated a voluntary cucumber recall, after a rash of salmonella infections were linked to them by U.S. public health agencies.
The affected cucumbers are from the company's "Limited Edition" line of "Pole Grown" imported Mexican cucumbers, sold between the dates of Aug. 1 and Sept. 3. So, if you have any Andrew & Williamson cucumbers that fit that bill, you can either dispose of them or return them, but don't eat them. While the precise extent of it is unclear, the Centers for Disease Control believe that they're the main cause of a salmonella outbreak that's been going on since early July. So far, a reported total of 285 people have been sickened in the outbreak, with one woman losing her life.
The outbreak has been confirmed in at least 27 states so far, according to the AP, and the cucumbers were distributed to 22 states, listed as follows: Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Idaho; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Utah.
That's a picture of the type of cucumber that's been recalled, which the CDC linked to from their salmonella outbreak resources page. Salmonella is a bacterial infection which can cause a number of undesirable symptoms, including severe diarrhea and stomach cramping. It's generally not lethal — the CDC's site states that the illness runs its course in four to seven days in most cases, and normally doesn't require treatment, but in rare instances it can cause serious complications. And, as is virtually always the case with infections, infants, young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised or suppressed immune system are at the highest risk.
It's fortunate that this outbreak link was discovered, and that the company issued a voluntary recall, although it's a shame so many people had already fallen ill. It's worth double-checking if you're dealing with cucumbers purchased by a friend or loved one in the days to come, too — the tricky thing about this recall is that the product isn't contained in easily identified industrial packaging, it's just boxed produce.
Once it's unpacked, and the box thrown away or recycled, there's no surefire way to identify the brand of cucumber anymore, unless the person who bought them was aware of the recall ahead of time. In short, do yourself a favor and ask the next time your friend dices up some cucumber for that dinner salad. A little awareness can go a long way towards protecting your physical health.