An Indiana man who was hospitalized after eating melon contaminated with Salmonella is suing Caito Foods LLC, the producer of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and other products that federal health officials say started a multistate outbreak of Salmonella illnesses.
According to Food Safety News, Jacob Novero was infected with the Salmonella Adelaide strain linked to the contaminated products after buying and eating pre-cut fruit containing honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon and blueberries produced by Caito Foods of Indianapolis.
Mr. Novero bought the contaminated melon salad at a Walmart Supercenter in Noblesville, Indiana on May 12. He started feeling ill two days later and on May 19 had to seek medical attention.
He was admitted to the hospital for IV fluids and potassium treatments. A scan physicians took revealed that he had developed colitis, which a May 31 biopsy determined to be caused by the Salmonella in his system. Doctors prescribed drugs to treat the ulcers that developed in Mr. Novero’s intestines, but he continues to be symptomatic of the intestinal ulcers and has been unable to work, Food Safety News reported.
At least 60 people in nine states have been sickened by Salmonella linked to melon products made and distributed by Caito , the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. Mr. Novero was one of the approximately three dozen people hospitalized with Salmonella infection.
Once authorities determined that Caito was the source of the outbreak, they announced a recall on June 7 of all the company’s melon products, which had been distributed to stores in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
Symptoms of salmonella exposure include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, fever, and headache. Most people will recover partially without medical attention after a couple of days, but symptoms may linger in a milder form for a week or even months.
Severe, life-threatening infections generally occur in children 5 years old and younger. Other people at high risk of developing severe complications are the elderly and anyone with a condition that weakens the immune system. Death may occur from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance – a result of prolonged diarrhea and vomiting – and from septicemia, which occurs when the bacteria escape the intestine, enter the bloodstream, and infect the organs.
“Although convenient, cut packaged mixed fruit has been shown to be at risk for bacterial or viral contamination,” Mr. Novero’s attorney said in a statement. “Given the numbers of the outbreaks in the last decade linked to products like this companies like Caito need to take far better precautions to avoid bacterial contamination.”
Mr Novero filed his lawsuit in a Hamilton County, Indiana court.