Between March and April 2016, 14 consumers in eight states became ill with Salmonella Oslo after apparently eating contaminated cucumbers. After epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory investigations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now says the source of the outbreak was Persian cucumbers. The produce was sold at a national grocery chain that has yet to be named.
Besides CDC, the investigation also included a collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and health officials in the affected states of Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota. While two Persian cucumber suppliers were identified in Canada in connection to the outbreak, no single grower has been identified. However, CDC states that growers who could have supplied the contaminated cucumber may have been located in Canada, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Still, FDA says they were unable to fully traceback the pathogen. They agency also has not been able to confirm cucumbers as the vehicle, as there were no positive samples tested.
Other foodborne outbreaks associated with cucumbers have been reported since 2013.
In April 2013, an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul occurred and was ultimately tied to cucumbers imported from Mexico. At that time, 73 individuals fell ill in 18 states, primarily California.
In September 2015, it was reported that two people in California and Texas were believed to have died have consuming Salmonella poona contaminated cucumbers. The outbreak also sickened more than 700 people in 35 states, overwhelmingly in California, Arizona and Utah. It is believed that this outbreak was linked to “slicer” or American cucumbers that were imported from Mexico by a San Diego-based producer. The raw cucumbers in question were sold in bulk in general supermarkets with no labeling or packaging.