(NEWSnet/AP) — Untreated water used by a Florida cucumber-grower is a likely source of salmonella food poisoning that sickened nearly 450 people this spring, federal health officials said Tuesday.

But that grower doesn’t account for all cucumber-related illnesses and 125 hospitalizations that were reported from late March through early June, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salmonella found in untreated canal water used by Bedner Growers Inc. of Boynton Beach, Florida, matched a strain of the bacteria that caused some of the illnesses. Additional types of salmonella were detected in soil and water samples collected at the site, FDA said.

Bedner Growers supplied Fresh Start Produce Sales of Delray Beach, Florida, which recalled crates of cucumbers in late May after the first illnesses were reported. Bedner Growers also supplied cucumbers to multiple places where people bought or ate the produce and became ill, FDA said.

The water was not applied to edible parts of the cucumber plants, but was used for subsoil watering, said Bedner Growers’ owner Steve Bedner. It complies with federal regulations and is a common industry practice, he said.

Investigators initially said there were two outbreaks of salmonella, but combined them into one because of similarities. 

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