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Tailor Cut Produce Melon Mix Salmonella Outbreak

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on December 7, 2019

Pennsylvania Department of Health and the FDA have announced a warning to businesses to not sell or distribute pre-cut fruit products (cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, grapes) from Tailor Cut Produce in North Brunswick, NJ, because it may be linked to a Salmonella outbreak in southeast Pennsylvania. Thus far, there are 33 people sick in Pennsylvania. It is unknown the health status of those with confirmed illnesses.

Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC’s website claims “[e]leven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Javiana have been reported from two states. Eight hospitalizations have been reported.” As of December 11, 2019, a total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Javiana have been reported from two states. The ill person from Minnesota traveled to New York City in the week before their illness.

Map of United States - People infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella by state of residence, as of December 10, 2019


Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 21, 2019, to November 28, 2019. Ill people range in age from 34 to 87 years, with a median age of 75. Fifty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 10 ill people with information available, 8 were hospitalized for their Salmonella infection. No deaths have been reported.

Epi curve of people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella, by date of illness onset, as of December 10, 2019

“We recommend that any facility who use Tailor Cut Produce pre-cut fruit to immediately stop and throw it away,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The cases have been seen in facilities that provide care to some of our most vulnerable patients. Tailor Cut Produce is working with health officials and will be issuing a voluntarily recall. All of the healthcare facilities involved in this outbreak have removed this product from their kitchens and are working with us to determine the source of the contamination.”

What’s Happening in this Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Outbreak

FDA announced on its website that it has activated a team to coordinate its outbreak investigation.  On December 6, 2019, the FDA and the Pennsylvania DOH shared the results of the investigation thus far with the manufacturer.

On December 7, 2019, Tailor Cut Produce recalled its Fruit Luau cut fruit mix as well as cut honeydew, cut cantaloupe, and cut pineapple products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. These products were not sold directly to consumers in grocery stores. The recalled fruit products were distributed between November 15 and December 1, 2019. Five (83%) of six ill people reported eating cut fruit served in long-term care facilities, a hospital, or a hotel.

FDA Recommendations

  • Food service and institutional food operators should not sell or serve the fruit mix with cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, and grapes prepared by Tailor Cut Produce.
  • Tailor Cut Produce reports that their products may be found in restaurants, banquet facilities, hotels, schools and institutional food service establishments in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
  • Because this fruit mix may have been distributed to nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other facilities that cater to vulnerable populations, it is important that these facilities do not sell or serve this fruit medley. Please consult with your distributor to confirm the source of the fruit mix used in your operation.

Causes of Salmonella Food Poisoning

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of people, animals and birds. Most people are infected with salmonella by eating foods that have been contaminated by feces. Commonly infected foods include:

  • Raw meat, poultry and seafood. Feces may get onto raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. Seafood may be contaminated if harvested from contaminated water.
  • Raw eggs. While an egg’s shell may seem to be a perfect barrier to contamination, some infected chickens produce eggs that contain salmonella before the shell is even formed. Raw eggs are used in homemade versions of mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Some fresh produce, particularly imported varieties, may be hydrated in the field or washed during processing with water contaminated with salmonella. Contamination also can occur in the kitchen, when juices from raw meat and poultry come into contact with uncooked foods, such as salads.

The Food and Drug Administration also indicates that some salmonella outbreaks have been traced to contaminants in spices. The agency is seeking ways to increase the safety of spices.

Many foods become contaminated when prepared by people who don’t wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Infection also can occur if you touch something that is contaminated, including pets, especially birds and reptiles, and then put your fingers in your mouth.

Although the reasons behind the contamination in this Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Outbreak have not yet been identified publicly, it is likely a processing issue.

Salmonella Symptoms

Salmonella is no joke when it comes to illness and can cause salmonellosis which is one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or signs after recently consuming ground beef products, be sure to visit your healthcare provider in order to get your illness properly treated and any foodborne infection reported. It is diligent reports like these that help investigators identify and subsequently eliminate the source of a foodborne illness outbreak.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is one of the only law firms in the nation focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits.

If you got sick in this latest Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our Salmonella lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Salmonella food poisoning.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor (Non-Lawyer)