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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Cantaloupes, a Fruit with a Problem

Although the 2011 cantaloupe outbreak that sickened 146 and killed 30 (with an additional two dying over the last months) and one miscarriage was the first known Listeria outbreak associated with cantaloupe, cantaloupe outbreaks are by no means a new phenomenon.  Since 1985, in fact, there have been no less than 15 recognized outbreaks (thanks to www.outbreakdatabase.com) in the US involving cantaloupes, grown domestically and internationally:

No.

Year

State(s)

Confirmed

Illnesses

Pathogen

Description

1

1985

Wisconsin

16

Campylobacter

Melon or Cantaloupe.

2

1990

30 States

245

Salmonella

Cut cantaloupe at salad bars.

3

1991

International, including U.S.

400

Salmonella

Likely Mexican cantaloupe.

4

1997

California

24

Salmonella

Mexican cantaloupe.

5

1998

Ontario, Canada

22

Salmonella

Cantaloupe.

6

1999

Iowa

61

Norovirus

Restaurant, cantaloupe or melon.

7

2000

California, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, Nevada

47

Salmonella

Mexican cantaloupe.

8

2001

Multi-state and International

50

Salmonella

Viva Brand cantaloupe.

9

2002

California, Minnesota, Oregon, Arkansas, Vermont, Nevada, Texas

58

Salmonella

Susie Brand cantaloupe.

10

2003

New York, Ohio, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Missouri

58

Salmonella

Day care center and private homes, cantaloupe/honeydew melon.

11

2006

Multi-State and International

41

Salmonella

Cantaloupe cut at processing facility in Canada.

12

2007

California

11

Salmonella

Private home.

13

2008

Multi-State

53

Salmonella

Agropecuraria Mobtelibano cantaloupe, from Honduras.

14

2008

California

23

Norovirus

Restaurant, melon and cantaloupe.

15

2011

Multi-State

20

Salmonella

Del Monte cantaloupe.

  • Carl Custer

    You missed a couple implicating watermelon or cantaloupe:
    August 08 Colorado, Salmonella: Fruit, Melon, Cantaloupe, Watermelon
    September 02 Washington, Salmonella: Fruit, Melon, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Watermelon
    I’m surprised there weren’t more cucumbers. But, cucumbers don’t always grow in contact with the ground (buy the ones without the yellow spot indicating they grew up on the vine — but — wash them anyway).

  • Jorge Casale

    External contamination of fruits and vegetables is always possible if handled in any way. Even using best processing practices there is a certain amount of risk of contamination. Frutis that are to be eaten not peeled, or those that their external surfaces may get in contact with other foods must be thoroughly rinsed with properly chlorinated water, or at least with pure clear clean drinking water. To expect that fruits and vegetables leave packing plants sterile, is an absurdity.

  • Minkpuppy

    I thought I saw something about a recall of sliced watermelon imported from Brazil yesterday. I didn’t have a chance to read the article so it wil take me a minute to find it again.

  • greyghost

    Well, minkpuppy, it’s been six months. I assume you’re still looking?