There was a massive cucumber recall—so why are people still getting sick from them? Cucumbers, you see, are as patient as they are ruthless.

The number of cases of Salmonella linked to tainted cucumbers rose by an extra 113 cases this week, bringing the total to 671, spread out over 34 states, since it first hit at the beginning of September. The CDC managed to ID the cucumbers fairly early on—they were from a crop imported from Mexico and sold under the Custom Produce Sales “Fat Boy” label and Andrew & Williamson’s “Limited Edition” label—and issued a recall.


Even with the recall, though, the outbreak has kept spreading. So if the CDC has identified which cucumbers are poisoning us, why hasn’t it stopped yet?

Part of the problem is these specific cucumbers, and their salmonella-ridden bodies, and part of the problem is just cucumbers in general. With their two-week shelf-lives, plenty of those recalled cucumbers are still hanging out in people’s refrigerators and countertops even now—biding their time until a long-delayed salad finally gives them the perfect time to strike. Add to that Salmonella’s relatively long incubation period, and it’s no wonder the outbreak is slow to stop.

What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from this green threat? Check labels, friends, and view any garnish on your plate with suspicion, at least for a little while longer.


Image: Luci Photography / Shutterstock