The packing shed, which does not have walls on the north and south sides, also had porous food contact surfaces such as wood and carpeting on the pack line, Waters reported, making it virtually impossible for the surfaces to be sanitized.
Water lines to the pack shed were also problematic.
“The processing water line is not constructed in such a manner as to prevent food contamination … while cantaloupes were being processed, I observed the pipe used to supply well water into the dump tank and spray nozzles over the conveyer belt were leaking and appeared to have an accumulation of rust. This water comes into direct contact with the cantaloupe as they are traveling along the processing line,” the report states.
The FDA inspector also found Chamberlain and his employees were not monitoring the effective levels of the chlorine sanitizer in the water in the concrete dump tank of the cantaloupe processing line. Chamberlain could not provide any records regarding the water sanitizing process.
Reports from Kentucky and Indiana health departments regarding salmonella illnesses in people who had eaten cantaloupe from the farm apparently spurred the FDA’s inspection of Chamberlain Farms. Kentucky health officials went public with information Aug. 17 when they announced two people were dead from salmonella infections linked to cantaloupes from a farm in southwestern Indiana.