On Monday, the first report of an eight-state Salmonella outbreak possibly involving berries or melons came not from any federal or state food safety officials, but from a local health department director in Michigan.
Steve Todd, who heads the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Counties Community Health Agency, told local media outlets that a Salmonella outbreak at the Reading Summer Festival Days during the last week of July was a “cluster” in the larger outbreak.
Todd said his agency had 12 laboratory-confirmed cases stemming from the festival and several other secondary cases involving family members of those sickened.
Only a tiny percentage of the fresh fruit and produce reaching the U.S. market is ever tested before it is consumed. Todd said CDC had told his agency that the Michigan outbreak was a sub-cluster in the larger multi-state outbreak.
At about the same time, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said it was investigating nine cases of Salmonella poisoning in Beaufort County, SC, that the agency said matched a national cluster of Salmonella. The first of those reports came in Sept. 19, but it’s not clear when the first onset of the illnesses occurred.
South Carolina health officials declined to provide more information on that state’s nationally connected Salmonella cases, saying that the investigation is ongoing.