The FDA investigation of Caito Foods has outlasted the Salmonella outbreak linked the company’s pre-cut melon. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared an end to the outbreak after no new cases were reported after May 1, 2019. But on the same day the CDC declared the outbreak over, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said its investigation of the company’s Indianapolis facility, where the melons were cut and packed, would continue.

While working with the CDC and partners from state health departments, the agency was unable to find a single source or potential point of contamination. Yet most of the 137 people who were sickened in this outbreak reported eating pre-cut melon they had purchased from grocery stores before they became ill. And FDA investigators learned that the stores mentioned got their melon from Caito.

Cut Melons

On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC, based in Indianapolis, issued a recall for pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and mixes that contain these fruits and others. The recalled products were sold at  Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods.

Ten states reported illnesses in this outbreak. The number of cases in each state were:  Alabama (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (7), Indiana (26), Kentucky (26), Michigan (22), Missouri (3), Minnesota (8), Ohio (42) and Wisconsin (1). Thirty-eight people were so sick they needed to be hospitalized.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and fever. They usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and last about a week. The people in this outbreak reported onset-of-illness dates from March 3, 2019, to May 1, 2019. Most of the illnesses occurred during the last couple of weeks in March.

2018 Caito Salmonella Outbreak

This Salmonella outbreak was the second to be linked to pre-cut melon produced by Caito Foods within the last 12 months. And each outbreak was linked to a different strain. This year it was Salmonella Carrau, last year it was Salmonella Adelaide. The 2018 outbreak sickened 77 people in nine states, hospitalizing 36 of them.

Attorney Brendan Flaherty Minnesota Lawyer
Attorney Brendan Flaherty

“The high hospitalization rates in both of these outbreaks may be one of the reasons why the FDA is taking a closer look at Caito’s facility in Indianapolis,” said Brendan Flaherty, a Salmonella attorney with Pritzker Hageman who filed suit on behalf of a woman hospitalized in the 2018 outbreak.

An average hospitalization rate for a Salmonella outbreak is around 20 percent. The rates for both of these outbreaks was higher, 28 percent in 2019, 47 percent in 2018.

If you have been sickened in this outbreak, contact our Salmonella Team for a free consultation by calling 1 (888) 377-8900 (toll-free),  sending a text to 612-261-0856. Or, by completing the form below.

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