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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Are we due for a Salmonella serotype Panama Cantaloupe Outbreak?

S. Panama is relatively rare – ranked 20th out of 100 in 1968-1998 data.

cantaloupe.jpgThanks to www.outbreakdatabase.com, I can search for Cantaloupe and Salmonella outbreaks.  Here are a few:

Multistate Unknown Location Cantaloupe, November 2008, 10 ill persons – A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Javiana (10 ill persons) occurred in multiple states. The specific states and the exposure location were not identified. The vehicle of infection was cantaloupe.

Colorado Private Home Cantaloupe and Watermelon, August 2008, 3 ill persons – A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Newport was linked to eating cantaloupe or watermelon while at a private home in Colorado. Three ill persons

Agropecuraria Montelibano Cantaloupe, January 2008, 53 ill persons – Cantaloupes grown in Honduras by the company, Agropecuraria Montelibano, were implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield in 17 states and in Canada.

California Private Home Cantaloupe, December 2007, 11 ill persons – A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield was linked to the consumption of cantaloupe that was eaten in private homes.

Susie Cantaloupe Distributed by I. Kunik Company March 2002, 58 ill persons – This multistate, Salmonella Poona, outbreak was one of three outbreaks that occurred between 2000 and 2002 involving imported, Mexican cantaloupe. Ten of the cases occurred in Canada. These outbreaks led to an import alert on cantaloupes from Mexico. The cantaloupe was purchased whole or eaten as part of a fruit salad or garnish. The cantaloupe had been distributed by the I. Kunik Company of McAllen, Texas, who had purchased it from a Mexican producer. Case patients lived in 8 states.

Viva Brand/Shipley Sales Cantaloupes, April 2001, 50 ill persons – An outbreak of Salmonella Poona occurred among persons who had eaten Viva brand cantaloupe imported from Mexico; the outbreak was first discovered in California. Cantaloupes were purchased whole and pre-cut. The Salmonella Poona strain that was isolated had a rare biochemical trait, the inability to produce hydrogen sulfide. Shipley Sales, the US importer of the cantaloupes, could not provide proper Mexican documentation for inspection when requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The owners of the company were subsequently indicted for submitting false invoices and misrepresenting the facts to the federal government. After a financial settlement and a fine, the 66 counts of the indictment were dismissed. This outbreak was one of three outbreaks that had occurred between 2000 and 2002 involving imported, Mexican cantaloupes. The outbreaks ultimately led to an import alert on cantaloupes from Mexico. Patients in 10 states.

Cantaloupe, April 2000, 47 ill persons – An outbreak of Salmonella Poona occurred among people who ate whole or pre-cut cantaloupe. This outbreak was one of three outbreaks that occurred between 2000 and 2002 involving imported, Mexican cantaloupe. These outbreaks led to an import alert on cantaloupes from Mexico.

Ontario, Canada, Cantaloupe, Unknown month 1998, 22 ill persons – An outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg occurred in Ontario, Canada. Cantaloupe consumption was a risk factor for illness.

Imported Mexican Cantaloupe, February 1997, 24 ill persons – Twenty four persons were known to be infected with a genetically identical strain of Salmonella Saphra. A case control study implicated the consumption of cantaloupe as a risk for illness. A traceback identified one growing region in Mexico as a source of cantaloupe for 95% of the case-patients. Very few persons reported washing cantaloupe prior to cutting them.

Cantaloupe May 1991, 400 ill persons – During June and July, 1991, more than 400 laboratory-confirmed Salmonella Poona infections occurred in 23 states and Canada(Ontario, Newfoundland,Quebec, Saskatchewan). Illness was associated with eating cut up cantaloupe in salad bars or fruit salads. At least 72 of the cases were in Canada. Salmonella was never isolated from cantaloupe as the produce had been consumed, or discarded, before the epidemiologic investigations began. Although industry sources identified the lower Rio Grande Valley, in Texas, as the probable source of the implicated cantaloupes, some cantaloupes may have come from Mexico.

Multistate Outbreak Cantaloupe, Unknown month 1990, 245 ill persons – A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Chester occurred in the United States in 1990. Cantaloupe that had been imported from Central America was implicated as the vehicle of infection. Cases were confirmed in 30 states.