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As of December 22, 2023, there have been seven deaths and 164 confirmed cases of Salmonella in Canada linked to a nationwide outbreak arising from contaminated Cantaloupes.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • abdominal cramps

Symptoms typically develop within 6 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food, and usually last for several days. However, severe cases can last much longer, and in the most severe cases, the Salmonella infection may cause death.

Summary of events 

In November 2023, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) issued recalls related to “Malichita” brand cantaloupes sold between October 11, 2023 and November 14, 2023 and “Rudy” brand cantaloupes sold between October 10, 2023 and November 24, 2023. The affected Cantaloupes were grown in Mexico.

The CFIA also issued a series of secondary recalls for products containing the recalled cantaloupes (i.e., fruit trays, fruit salads, smoothies, etc.) or processed along with the Recalled Cantaloupes (i.e., honeydew, watermelon, pineapples, etc.). The CFIA recalls direct that the recalled products should not be consumed, used, sold, served, or distributed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (“PHAC”) issued a series of public health notices in relation to the outbreak. Among other things, the PHAC recommended that, if a purchaser was unable to verify the brand of the cantaloupe, the purchaser should dispose of the cantaloupe. 

Cantaloupes and foodborne illness

Cantaloupes are a common carrier of foodborne illness. Cantaloupes do not naturally contain bacteria that can cause illness; however, cantaloupes grow in the ground where they may come into contact with bacteria from animal feces. Cantaloupes may also be contaminated at other stages of the distribution chain, including during harvest or distribution.

Cantaloupes are at particular risk of contamination because of the structure of their rinds. Cantaloupe rinds, which are rough and netted, can trap bacteria and make removing bacteria more difficult. The bacteria can reach the inside fruit when the cantaloupe is cut. The bacteria may also transfer to other products that are processed with the cantaloupe (e.g., other fruits being cut in the same location as contaminated cantaloupes) if insufficient procedures are in place to prevent cross contamination.

Cantaloupes Salmonella outbreak class action

Siskinds LLP is seeking to recover compensation for Canadians in relation to injuries allegedly arising from the Salmonella outbreak. These actions seek to recover damages on behalf of Canadians who purchased and/or consumed the recalled products, as well as Canadians who disposed of “unidentifiable” products (products for which it was not possible to tell if they were recalled) as a result of receiving notice of the recalls.

Eligibility for participation

If you or someone you know has consumed or purchased recalled cantaloupe products or disposed of “unidentifiable” cantaloupe products as a result of learning about the recalls, Siskinds may be able to help. Contact us for more information or to receive a free consultation. Visit siskinds.com/class-action/cantaloupes/ and complete the form at the bottom of the page, or call 1 800 461 6166.

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