Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled its cucumbers on Friday after these were linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened 285 individuals in 27 states and killed a woman in San Diego.
The California-based company recalled its "Limited Edition" brand garden cucumbers, which were imported from Mexico, after health officials said that the cucumbers likely caused illness in hundreds of individuals, half of whom were under 18 years old, and the death of an elderly woman.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that of those sickened by strains of Salmonella Poona, 53 got worse enough to be hospitalized and that investigations point at cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce from Mexico as the likely source of the infection.
The CDC advised consumers not to eat, restaurants not to serve and retailers not to sell the recalled products, which are also known as "slicer" or "American" cucumbers. The cucumbers have dark green skin and measure between 7 to 10 inches long.
Health officials also warned that the cucumbers sold in retail grocery stores may not have identifying brand information and urged consumers to confirm whether or not the produce they intend to buy are those linked with the outbreak by checking with their grocers.
Authorities also advised consumers not to eat cucumbers if they are uncertain about the source. Domestically produced cucumbers were not associated with the outbreak.
The cucumbers that were subjected for recall were distributed between Aug. 1 and Sept. 3 in Utah, Texas, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Illinois, Mississippi and South Carolina.
"The recalled garden cucumbers can be identified in distribution channels as 'Limited Edition' brand pole grown cucumbers," the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. "The labeling on these cases indicates the product was grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico."
The company said that it currently works with health officials to know if its products are indeed responsible for the outbreak and that it voluntarily recalled the imported cucumbers out of caution.
"The safety and health of the consumers who buy our products have always been the highest priority for us," said Dave Murray, a partner of the company. "I bring our produce home to my family, that's how much I believe in the produce we buy, ship and sell."