For additional information about the Schnucks recall, please see "Chamberlain Farms expands recall by adding watermelons"
(UPDATED COVERAGE, Sept. 12) The Indiana grower who recalled cantaloupe in August after it was linked to a salmonalla outbreak that has killed two issued a statement confirming he is now recalling watermelons because of possible contamination with a different type of salmonella.
Tim Chamberlain, owner of Chamberlain Farms, Owensville, Ind., released the statement via his attorney, Gary Zhao of the Chicago law firm SmithAmundsen LLC.
"We are continuing to cooperate fully with authorities at the FDA and the Indiana State Department of Health to determine the full facts about the source of the salmonella found on our watermelon," chamberlain's statement said.
"... We promise that we will continue to evaluate the available evidence, work closely with the investigating authorities and do all that we can to protect the well being of the consumers of our produce."
Indiana health officials reported they found Salmonella Newport contamination on watermelons still in the field at Chamberlain Farms during their ongoing investigation of the separate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to the farm’s cantaloupe.
No illnesses have been linked to the Chamberlain watermelon, but the Indiana Department of Health is investigating several Salmonella Newport cases, said Amy Reel, director of public affairs for the department.
She said the watermelon samples were collected "well after" the initial Aug. 14-16 investigation at the farm. The volume of watermelons distributed by Chamberlain is unknown, Reel said.
“But I know it was much less than the number of cantaloupes distributed,” Reel said.
Reel stressed that the situation with Chamberlain’s watermelon is separate from the recall of cantaloupes from the farm. The cantaloupes have been linked to a 22-state outbreak that has sickened 204 people, including two in Kentucky who died.
Reel said Indiana officials are working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on separate investigations of Chamberlain’s watermelons and cantaloupes.
Officials with the FDA and CDC said Sept. 11 that they anticipate their agencies would soon issue statements regarding the Salmonella Newport contamination found on the Chamberlain watermelon.
Neither federal agency nor the Indiana Health Department had posted any information regarding the Chamberlain watermelon on their websites as of Sept. 12.
According to the CDC’s website, there are more than 2,000 kinds of salmonella that can cause disease in humans. Of those varieties, three — Newport, Typhimurium and Enteritidis — account for about half of the confirmed salmonella illnesses reported by the public health laboratories.
Salmonella Newport has “increased markedly since 1995 and is now the third-most frequent serotype,” according to the CDC website.
Schnucks Markets, St. Louis, issued its own recall of Chamberlain watermelon from retail stores under the Schnucks, Logli and Hilander banners in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Some of the watermelons can be identified by stickers that say “Indian Hills — Produce of USA” on them, according to the Schnucks recall notice. Some retailers may have Chamberlain watermelons that do not have any identifying stickers.