Outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe - The Packer

Outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe

08/22/2012 11:09:00 PM
Coral Beach

“The investigation into this outbreak continues in order to determine whether there are other possible sources,” according to the news release, which was issued via e-mail at 10:40 p.m. Aug. 22.

Neither the news release nor the recall notice included the volume of melons being recalled.

No descriptions or photographs of product stickers, packaging or labels were provided.

The FDA did not mention traceability information in the recall. The news release included a list of states where the cantaloupes were initially distributed.

“Records available currently indicate that this product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, although further shipment was likely,” the Aug. 22 release stated.

Owners Tim and Mia Chamberlain withdrew their cantaloupe from the supply chain Aug. 16-17, according to FDA.

On Aug. 17 health officials in Kentucky announced their state laboratory had confirmed that the salmonella outbreak strain was identical to that found on two cantaloupes grown in Southwest Indiana and collected by investigators at retail. 

However, no state or federal officials would reveal the farm’s identity or the retailers that were known to have received Chamberlain cantaloupe.

Repeated calls to Chamberlain Farms from Aug. 19-22 went unanswered.

“After officials from the FDA and the state of Indiana briefed Chamberlain Farms on the current status of the investigation, Chamberlain Farms made the decision to recall its cantaloupe from the market place,” the FDA news release states.

“Earlier Chamberlain Farms had agreed to withdraw the cantaloupe from the market, and to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. However, the decision to formally recall the product will facilitate removal of the product from the market and ensure the widest possible awareness of this action.”

The FDA did not immediately post the recall information on its official recall website.

Salmonella may be present on the inside and outside of the Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe, the news release states. It warns consumers against trying to wash the bacteria off the cantaloupe, instead advising them to throw away suspect cantaloupes.

The release did not explain why FDA officials believe the contamination might be present in the fruit's flesh as well as its exterior.

The most recent outbreak numbers, posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed the outbreak in 21 states, with 178 illnesses and two deaths, both in Kentucky. Sixty-two people have been admitted to hospitals because of the salmonella. The CDC also added Massachusetts to the list of states involved.

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Doctor P    
California  |  August, 23, 2012 at 08:03 PM

It looks like locally grown turned out to be a very bad choice this time. Were these grown organically like the deadly outbreak last year that killed 35 people?

Birmingham, AL  |  August, 24, 2012 at 07:59 AM

I want to know about the seeds; are they GMO or not, then lets talk fertilizers and pest control or even cross contamination from nearby farms. These are the questions. I can find no search results on any of these questions in regard to the cantelope. Seems odd right?

Florida  |  August, 24, 2012 at 08:24 AM

I want to know what their irrigation source is. I found their address, but google maps can't seem to pinpoint the exact location. The general area of their farm is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There might be some streams or retention ponds nearby, so those may be their water source. If they are not decontaminating the water, then that would be a likely source of bacteria. SO MANY farms are spraying pond/retention/reclaimed/canal water on their crops with ZERO decontamination! Unless you have a fresh water well that has been demonstrated to be free from any bacteria, you better be decontaminating your irrigation/spray water!

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, Kan.  |  August, 24, 2012 at 08:53 AM

Lori, They are not GM cantaloupe. There is no GM cantaloupe on the market, and GM fruits/vegetables are extremely rare. The Packer doesn't mention this in our coverage is because it is not an issue in this case. As for fertilizers/pesticides, I've never heard of their use leading to the presence of salmonella or other pathogens. The FDA and the grower have not said anything about the possibility of the salmonella originating from any other location. Chris Koger News Editor

Clinton  |  August, 24, 2012 at 09:41 AM

I'm at a loss at to why The Packer and the news media plastered Burch Farms all over everywhere immediately after finding the one cantaloupe and they didn't even release Chamberlain Farms name until a week later after several people were DEAD and over 100 in the hospital. Makes you scratch your head and wonder who is pushing this.

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, Kan.  |  August, 24, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Anon, Please pull up any story from The Packer or other news media that was written before late Aug. 22. As they all state, the FDA would not release the name of the grower. The Packer posted a story naming Chamberlain Farms within the hour of FDA releasing it late Aug. 22. This was less than a week after the initial report of the outbreak. According to the FDA, the name was withheld while the investigation continued. It's safe to assume that the FDA decided to wait until it was 100% certain Chamberlain was a source of the salmonella. The agency continues to investigate whether there are other sources. Publishing the name of a company before we have FDA confirmation would be reckless. Chris Koger News Editor

Chavez Chavez    
CA  |  August, 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I just ate cantaloupe all week and it was delicious. I will buy more soon to support these poor cantaloupe growers. People's immune systems arent what they used to be.

Desert Hot Springs, CA  |  August, 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM

There is no, nor has there ever been, any GMO melons brought to market in the United States. The melons you buys today are hybrids, not GMO. Hybrids are bred by means of cross-pollination, whereas GMO is created in a lab setting and involved modifying gene strands. You can see for yourself at gmo-compass.org where they have a database of all GMO currently being grown and sold.

Don Engebretson    
Minneapolis  |  August, 25, 2012 at 08:27 PM

The question is, organically grown or not? Jumping to conclusions about GMO possibilities is not realistic. Salmonella is nearly always from organic manure fertilizers. The question I cannot discover is, Were they organically grown??? That's where you most often run into the salmonella problems.

August, 28, 2012 at 07:48 AM

The outbreak last year was from a conventional farm, not organic.

Ohio  |  October, 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Thats incorrect. Last years outbreak was at Jensen Fams near Holly, Colorado, a certified organic farm. The worst outbreak in US history in which 30 people died!! No one has identified the field or linked the illness to a organic field, but you can draw you own conclusions given Jensen is an organic farm and uses organic procedures and organic products for fertilizers, as their spokeswoman openly admitted.

Wyoming  |  December, 13, 2012 at 01:31 AM

You are both wrong, Jensen Farms was on transitional ground. Essentially everything was being treated organically. A grower must "transition" the ground for 3 years before the comoodity grown in that ground can market as organic. Most of the commentors here seem to not have much of a grasp on produce production . . . ..

Lisa Gunn    
montrose colorado  |  October, 22, 2013 at 02:43 PM

maybe should get all the story and if his neighbors had a green permit like the epa or montrose county gives out green permits,find out how much water and land his deeds of trust will be selling and if caldwell banker realestate is near

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