Food

Cucumbers shipped to 14 states are suspected of carrying salmonella

The produce likely never made it to restaurants or supermarkets, according to the FDA, because supplies were halted at the distributor and wholesaler stages of the supply chain.
The produce was shipped to distributors and wholesalers. | Photo: Shutterstock

Restaurants could see a disruption in supplies of cucumbers as the result of a 14-state recall by supplier Fresh Start Produce Sales.

The produce is suspected of being contaminated with salmonella.

The whole cucumbers were shipped to foodservice distributors and wholesalers from May 17-21, according to Fresh Start. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) indicated that the suspect products have likely not yet reached restaurants or supermarkets because of the recall’s timing.

The federal agency said it is investigating whether the strain of salmonella found in the cucumbers figured into other recent contaminations involving the bacteria. It did not say which earlier outbreaks might have been related.

Fresh Start initiated the recall after the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture alerted the company that a sample of the cucumbers had tested positive for the salmonella bacteria.

The vegetables had been shipped in bulk to distributors and wholesalers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The recall involves whole cucumbers measuring 5 to 9 inches long and up to 2 inches in diameter. English cucumbers are not involved.

The recall is the latest development in what’s been a recently flurry of food safety developments with implications for the restaurant business.

Regulators are still tracking the jump of avian flu from poultry to dairy cows and humans. According to the FDA, the pathogen poses no health risk to consumers—the two humans who contracted the virus were infected while working at dairies, and not because of anything they consumed. But a continuing spread of the illness through the dairy business could affect production level.

“At this time, milk loss resulting from symptomatic cattle is too limited to have a major impact on supply and there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products,” the FDA states on its website. “We will continue to monitor the supply chain impacts.

The avian virus was also detected in the poultry flock of the nation’s largest egg producer, Cal-Maine Foods. The supplier said it had destroyed 2 million birds, or 3.5% of its total flock, to contain the contamination.

In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advised restaurants and supermarkets to check their freezers for ground beef processed in March by Greater Omaha Packing Co. The packer had alerted the federal agency that meat from a batch that tested positive for E.coli O157:H7 may have been blended into the beef. Because the notice was given after April 22, the use-or-freeze-by date for the meat, the suspect supplies were no longer on the market.

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