There's not much that says "summer" quite like a crisp, cool cucumber. Unfortunately, cucumbers are suspected of making hundreds of people sick in the past months.

Two Salmonella Outbreaks

According to the CDC, one strain, Salmonella Africana, has hit 196 folks across 28 states and DC. Interestingly, 74% of those interviewed said they chowed down on cucumbers. Meanwhile, Salmonella Braenderup has affected 185 people in 24 states during the same period.

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Were They Caused by Cucumbers?

On May 31, produce supplier Fresh Start Produce issued a voluntary recall of cucumbers that were shipped to  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia after samples tested positive for salmonella. However, Salmonella Bareilly, the strain of bacteria found on the Fresh Start cucumbers was not the same as the bacteria that's responsible for the current outbreaks. 

Map of distribution of recalled cucumbers. -FDA

So, what does the FDA and CDC say about the three strands of salmonella all swirling around?

"The specific strain of Salmonella found on Fresh Start Produce Sales, Inc. recalled cucumbers was identified as Salmonella Bareilly and does not match any ongoing outbreaks. The two outbreaks share several similarities, including where and when illnesses occurred and the demographics of ill people. Investigators are working to determine whether the two outbreaks could be linked to the same food vehicle. Information will be provided on the source of the Salmonella Braenderup outbreak as it becomes available." -FDA

What to Do If You Have Cucumbers or Get Sick?


So, what should you do? Even though the FDA said that the salmonella strains on the cucumbers are not the same as the ones making people sick, they still recommend that you look to see if your cucumbers were included in the voluntary recall. If you suspect it was part of the recall or are not sure, discard them and sanitize any space where the cucumbers were stored or touched.

Check out the FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice and make sure you clean and sanitize your food preparation space.

If you become sick and believe you have symptoms of a salmonella infection such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps contact your healthcare provider.

A Look Inside Helm's Greenhouse in Richland, IN

Nathan and Peggy Helms' venture in Spencer Co., Indiana, birthed a thriving produce business. Helm's Greenhouse, nestled behind Luce Elementary, embodies their legacy. Tom Helms and his father Nate Jr. cultivate a vibrant array of fruits and vegetables, including their prized tomato hybrid. Don't miss out on a visit to Helm's for a taste of summer and a glimpse into their family's rich history.

Gallery Credit: ASHLEY SOLLARS

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