Prompted by the threatened Microbiological Data Program (MDP), Burch Equipment and the FDA recalled 580 cases of Athena cantaloupe.  Now the recall has been expanded because once the FDA got to the Burch Equipment facility it found “unsanitary conditions.”

canp-725x543.jpgBurch Equipment LLC, North Carolina is expanding their recall that was initiated on July 28th, 2012. The firm is voluntarily recalling 13888 cases of whole Athena variety cantaloupes ( 9 cantaloupes per case) and 581 bins ( 110 cantaloupes per bin) of Athena variety cantaloupes due to the potential for being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Melons affected by this recall total 188,902.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The whole Athena variety cantaloupes were shipped between July 15th and July 27th and distributed to retail stores operating in FL, GA, IL, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, SC and VA. The whole cantaloupes are identified by a red label reading Burch Farms referencing PLU # 4319. All cantaloupes involved in the recall were grown by Burch Farms, however some of the cantaloupes may have been identified with a “Cottle Strawberry, Inc.” sticker referencing PLU #4319. Cottle Farms is not involved in this recall. The Athena variety cantaloupe is the most commonly grown in the east. Cantaloupes from Burch Farms were shipped to retail establishments in both corrugated boxes (9 cantaloupe per case) and in bulk bins.

Burch Equipment LLC is requesting any consumer that may have one of these cantaloupes to discard the product.

There have been no illnesses reported to date. FDA and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture are working with Burch Equipment LLC following a random sample of an Athena variety cantaloupe testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The recall expansion is based on unsanitary conditions found at the cantaloupe packing shed during FDA’s ongoing inspection that may allow for contamination of cantaloupes with Listeria monocytogenes.