After being linked to two cut melon Salmonella outbreaks in the span of 12 months, Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis is closing its fresh-cut fruit operations. The closure which will affect about 300 employees, comes after the “unforeseen cancelation of a contract that makes up the majority of that business,” according to a letter the company submitted to the Indian Department of Workforce Development. The layoffs and terminations which the company expects to be permanent will begin April 27, 2020.
On April 19, 2019, after federal health officials linked pre-cut melon from Caito to Salmonella illness, the company issued a recall for pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and medleys that contained all three.
2019 Caito Pre-Cut Melon Recall
The pre-cut fruit recall included 110 products sold under a variety of brand names. The fruit chunks, spears, mixes, medleys and fruit trays were distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in 16 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. They were packaged in plastic containers and sold at grocery stores these brand names:
- Kroger – Renaissance Food Group or Boar’s Head Private Label
- Target – Garden Highway Label
- Trader Joes – Trader Joes label
- Walmart – Freshness Guaranteed label
- Amazon/Whole Foods -Whole Foods Market Label
What are the Symptoms of a Salmonella Infection?
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.
2019 Caito Cut Fruit Salmonella Outbreak
By the time this outbreak ended, 137 people in 10 states had been sickened with Salmonella Carrau infections linked to contaminated fruit processed by Caito. These patients, who range in age from less than 1 year to 93 years old, 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.
The number of cases reported from each state was as follows: 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.
2018 Caito Pre-Cut Melon Salmonella Outbreak
In 2018, a nine-state Salmonella outbreak linked to Caito pre-cut melon ended after sickening 77 with Salmonella Adelaide infections. Thirty-six people were hospitalized. The case-patients, who ranged in age from less than 1 to 97 years old, reported onset-of-illness dates ranging from April 30, 2018, to July 2, 2018. The number of cases reported from each state was: AR (1), FL (1), IL (7), IN (14), KY (1), MI (39), MO (11), OH (2), TN (1).
High Hospitalization Rates
In both outbreaks, the hospitalization rate was higher than is typical. The average hospitalization rate for a Salmonella outbreak is around 20 percent. The rate for the 2019 outbreak was 28 percent, the rate for the 2018 outbreak was 47 percent. High hospitalization rates mean the illnesses were more invasive than is typical, an indication that the strains of Salmonella linked to the illnesses were especially virulent.
The Salmonella lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have represented clients in every major Salmonella outbreak over the last 20 years – including Salmonella outbreaks linked to Caito pre-cut melon. If you were part of these outbreaks and would like a free consultation with a member of our Salmonella Team, call 1 (888) 377-8900, text to 612-261-0856. Or, by complete the form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.