Deaths linked tainted cantaloupe increase to 3 in U.S., 5 in Canada

Cut cantaloupe is displayed for sale
Cut cantaloupe is displayed for sale at a supermarket in Philadelphia on Dec. 3. On Thursday, U.S. and Canadian officials reported additional deaths and illnesses in a salmonella outbreak tied to tainted cantaloupe.
Jonathan Poet | AP

A salmonella outbreak tied to tainted cantaloupe has now killed eight people — three in the U.S. and five in Canada, health officials reported Thursday.

Dozens more illnesses were reported by both countries. In the U.S., at least 230 people have been ill in 38 states and 96 have been hospitalized since mid-November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That includes 20 confirmed cases in Minnesota — the most of any state. Two of the three deaths in the U.S. have been in Minnesota; the other was in Oregon.

The tainted cantaloupe was also shipped to Canada, where 129 cases have been reported, including 44 hospitalizations, health officials reported.

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Many of the people who fell ill reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe in clamshell packages and trays sold in stores. Consumers should not buy, eat or serve cantaloupe, if they don't know the source, the CDC said.

New recalls of whole and pre-cut fruit have been added to a growing list, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The recall includes Malichita and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes, and pre-cut cantaloupe sold under brands including Aldi, Kwik Trip, Trader Joe’s, Freshness Guaranteed, RaceTrac and Vinyard. Find the complete list and more details on the CDC website.

Health officials are still working to determine whether additional products are linked to the illnesses.

Salmonella can cause serious illness in young children, people older than 65 and those with weakened immune systems.

MPR News contributed to this report.