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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

It is Spring in Paris – It must be time to recall Salmonella Cantaloupe in the United States

I just finished a day at the Louvre, walking along the Seine and trying to find the French I learned in college, as I ordered a meal with my daughter at a cafe on a busy avenue.  I then was brought back to what Spring is really all about – another Cantaloupe recall due to Salmonella

Apparently, a North Carolina company is recalling whole cantaloupes sold this week in Wal-Mart stores across North and South Carolina and in South Hill, Virginai, because they could be contaminated with Salmonella.  L&M Companies Inc. says the cantaloupes all came from the same small farm where a melon tested positive for the organism this week. No illnesses from eating the cantaloupes had been reported as of Friday.  Officials say the cantaloupes were sold at Wal-Mart stores from Sunday through Friday. Anyone who bought cantaloupes from those stores during that time should destroy them.

Over the last several years, it seems each Spring we hear of yet another recall.  Many have invloved severe illnesses and even deaths.  Let’s hope this testing and recall catches it before it becomes a problem again.  There are three that I recall in the last few years:

Cantaloupe Salmonella Litchfield Outbreak, 2008 – Nationwide

In March of 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a Salmonella outbreak had been identified among residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. In all, 50 people had been linked to the outbreak; 14 were hospitalized.

Susie Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak, 2002 – Nationwide

On May 13, 2002 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release reporting that an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Poona had been traced to the consumption of Susie Brand cantaloupes distributed in the United States and Canada by the I. Kunik Company of McAllen, Texas. FDA reported that the cantaloupe was sold in retail stores, restaurants, and possibly used in other institutions. FDA investigators determined that dozens of people had been sickened after eating the contaminated cantaloupe, and detained all cantaloupe imported by I. Kunick from Mexico.

Viva Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak, 2001 – Nationwide

On May 25, 2001 the FDA issued a press release warning consumers that Viva brand imported cantaloupe had been identified as the source of a Salmonella poona outbreak. FDA stated that the cantaloupe had been sold by S.P.R. De R.I. Legumbrera San Luis and S.P.R. De R.I. Los Arroyoas of Mexico and imported by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Arizona. Illnesses associated with the consumption of the contaminated cantaloupe had been identified in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State.

  • How do melons become contaminated with Salmonella? I remember while living in Central America, locals told us not to eat the melons because unscrupulous peddlers would inject them with water to make them weigh more. Turns out that water was dirty tap or creek water containing deadly bacteria. What we thought was something safe to eat because you had to take the thick peel off before eating turned out to be the opposite. Could that be what is going on here?