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6 Michigan Cases Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - State health officials and local health departments in Michigan are working with their counterparts in 19 other states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the investigation of a salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said in a release out  Wednesday that three children and three adults in the state became ill last month. At least one was hospitalized.

An Indiana farm recalled its cantaloupe amid the outbreak that’s killed at least two people and sickened at least 140 others. Findings show cantaloupe grown on the farm is the likely source, although an investigation continues.

Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to bacterial infections from salmonella. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping.

Anyone who recently purchased cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana is advised not to eat them and to dispose of them.

“Many cantaloupes have the growing area identified with a sticker on the fruit, but if no sticker is present, consumers should ask the grocer where the melons were purchased to identify the source,” said Kevin Besey, director of the Michigan Agriculture and Rural Development Food and Dairy Division. “The best advice to follow is, ‘When in doubt, throw it out,’ especially if you cannot determine where the melons were grown.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers these safety tips for fresh produce:

  • Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, it should still be washed first
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush;
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel
  • Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged
  • When selecting pre-cut produce — such as half a watermelon or bagged salad greens — choose only those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice
  • Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products when packing them to take home from the market
  • Check that your refrigerator is clean and set at 40° F or below.

More food safety tips can be found at www.foodsafety.gov. For more information about the national outbreak investigation, visit the CDC’s website.

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