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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Litchfield Cantaloupe Outbreak sickens 50 in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin

FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk with Cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert regarding entry of cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because, based on current information, fruit from this company appears to be associated with a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the United States and Canada. The import alert advises FDA field offices that all cantaloupes shipped to the United States by this company are to be detained.

In addition, the FDA has contacted importers about this action and is advising U.S. grocers, food service operators, and produce processors to remove from their stock any cantaloupes from this company. The FDA also advises consumers who have recently bought cantaloupes to check with the place of purchase to determine if the fruit came from this specific grower and packer. If so, consumers should throw away the cantaloupes.

Cantaloupe and Salmonella – sound familiar?  We have been involved in several, here are two:

Kunick Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

On May 13, 2002 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release reporting an outbreak of Salmonella Poona connected with Susie Brand cantaloupes distributed in the United States and Canada by the I. Kunik Company of McAllen, Texas. The outbreak of Salmonella Poona infected dozens of people throughout the United States and Canada. The FDA reported that the cantaloupe was sold in retail stores, restaurants, and possibly used in other institutions. The recall of Susie Brand cantaloupes was the result of an FDA traceback investigation that linked salmonella infection to the consumption of this brand of cantaloupe. The FDA detained all cantaloupe imported by I. Kunik from Mexico.

Shipley Sales Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

In May 2001, the FDA issued a press release warning consumers about Viva Brand imported cantaloupe. The FDA advised consumers of an outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to cantaloupe imported to the U.S. by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Arizona. The outbreak was implicated in numerous illnesses and two deaths in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state. The FDA detained all cantaloupe imported by Shipley Sales Service and took steps to prevent the importation of any additional contaminated cantaloupe.

Some other Cantaloupe Salmonella links:

Multistate Outbreaks of Salmonella Serotype Poona Infections Associated with Eating Cantaloupe from Mexico — United States and Canada, 2000–2002

Three multistate outbreaks of Salmonella serotype Poona infections associated with eating cantaloupe imported from Mexico occurred in the spring of consecutive years during 2000–2002. In each outbreak, the isolates had indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns; the PFGE patterns observed in the 2000 and 2002 outbreaks were indistinguishable, but the pattern from 2001 was unique among them. Outbreaks were identified first by the California Department of Health Services (2000 and 2001) and the Washington State Department of Health (2002) and involved residents of 12 states and Canada.

Castle Produce Announces the Recall of Cantaloupe Melons Due to Salmonella Contamination

Castle Produce, a subsidiary of Tropical Produce, Inc., a wholesale importer of fresh fruit and vegetables announced the recall of cantaloupes in California due to potential health concerns. Some cantaloupes delivered on or after 2/16/2007 have tested positive for Salmonella, although no illnesses have been reported.

Dole Fresh Fruit Company announced the recall of cantaloupes in the Eastern U.S. and Quebec due to potential health concerns.

Some cantaloupes packed on January 25, 26 and 27, 2007 by an independent, third-party grower in Costa Rica have tested positive for Salmonella. Although no illnesses have been reported, Dole voluntarily has decided to recall all cantaloupes imported from Costa Rica and packed by that grower.

According to news reports, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya called the FDA decision “extreme and imprudent,” as the melons were contaminated on their peel, not inside, meaning they may have come in contact with salmonella bacteria after they were shipped.

  • Bix

    (I see you added a few more links.)
    I was looking at the FDA’s site about this and they itemize 8 steps for reducing risk of infection from cantaloupe:
    http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01808.html
    This one stood out for me:
    “Scrub whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Don’t use soap or detergents.”
    It’s not recommended to use a cleaner on the outside? Why is that?