Salmonella probe ongoing; cantaloupe grower remains unnamed - The Packer

Salmonella probe ongoing; cantaloupe grower remains unnamed

08/21/2012 05:20:00 PM
Coral Beach

cantaloupe(For updated coverage, please see UPDATED: Chamberlain Farms recalls cantaloupe linked to outbreak) Health officials continue to investigate the source a multi-state salmonella outbreak that’s been linked to cantaloupes from Southwest Indiana.

The name of the grower suspected in the outbreak, first reported by federal and state agencies on Aug. 17, had not been released as of Aug. 21.

Twenty states are involved. Two deaths and 141 illnesses have been linked to the outbreak.

Officials with the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several state health departments said Aug. 17 that the grower voluntarily withdrew cantaloupes from the stream of commerce and notified customers of the potential contamination.

CDC outbreak mapCourtesy CDCKentucky has been hardest hit in the current salmonella outbreak with 50 illnesses and two deaths. The Kentucky Health Department reported the salmonella strain matched salmonella found on cantaloupes from a grower in southwest Indiana.As of Aug. 21, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not updated warnings posted on their websites Aug. 17.

An FDA spokeswoman, Shelly Burgess, said the agency won’t release the grower’s name because the investigation is ongoing. Lab tests confirmed the grower’s cantaloupes have the same strain of salmonella as found in the victims.

“We are still investigating the source of the contamination,” Burgess said Aug. 20. “Since there is a grower who has voluntarily withdrawn product, there is cooperation and therefore no mandatory recall.”

Kentucky officials were the first to reveal the connection between the cantaloupe from southwest Indiana and the salmonella in a consumer warning Aug. 17. The two deaths were in Kentucky.

“It is odd that the FDA is not naming the farm nor naming what grocery stores sold the cantaloupe,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in food safety litigation. He is representing dozens of victims in a 2011 listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo.

“It is great that state health departments give us the numbers, but why not the name of the farm where the cantaloupes were grown, and more importantly, what grocery stores they were sold at.”

FDA’s Burgess said the agency is working on a list of retailers, but as of Aug. 21 it was not yet available.

CDC outbreak chartCourtesy CDCThe Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe from southwest Indiana that began in early July could continue to generate new cases because of the incubation period for infections related to the pathogen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In Iowa, six people are confirmed to be sick from the specific strain of salmonella as found in the southwest Indiana cantaloupe. But Iowa’s medical director for the Department of Health, Patricia Quinlisk, said that doesn’t necessarily mean the cantaloupe from southwest Indiana are the cause.

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Erica Mendoza    
August, 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM

How's it any different than any other recall? It's apparent they aren't positive that it's not something else other than cantaloupe so why say anything at all? Marler just wants to know do can start lawsuits!!!

louisville  |  August, 21, 2012 at 08:33 PM

The grower/shipper must be large, probably has watermelons also to move for labor day. We will find out who it is next week.

louisville  |  August, 21, 2012 at 09:15 PM

Twenty states are involved. Two deaths and 141 illnesses have been linked to the outbreak BURCH FARMS: THEY DISCLOSED THEIR NAME IMMEDIATELY AND HURT HIS BUSINESS. NOBODY SICK FROM ONLY 1 CANTELOUPE AND ONLY 1 HONEYDEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lalo Sandoval    
Gonzales Ca  |  August, 22, 2012 at 08:26 AM

Erica you would be singing a different tune if one of your children or grandparents were ill from eating these cantaloupes You would be one of the first to call Marler Marler would not HAVE ANY LAWSUITS if correct procedures/policies were in place and followed at these operations

Texas  |  August, 22, 2012 at 08:58 AM

It appears to me that this may be another "Organic Crop" as the USDA & FDA are very hesitant to hurt the organic markets. The public is also not aware of the FDA and what they call "Stealth Recalls". This is where the FDA determines that it is better suited to not alert even the produce industry of certain recalls!! There is a company in Texas that had 33 stealth recalls in a period of 6 months. Google stealth recall

August, 22, 2012 at 08:59 AM

Stan ..your a bum

Esteban Dabdoub    
Nogales, Az  |  August, 22, 2012 at 10:21 AM

When product from Mexico is suspected of being contaminated everyone jumps on the bandwagon to discredit Mexican growers who by the way have infrastructure in place that by far exceeds the growing, packing and living conditions of their people, compared to most American farming conditions , Mexican farms put to shame all those lobbyists,growers and politicians that want to do away with NAFTA & the Suspension Agreement. Shame on you.

WA  |  August, 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM

It is wrong to make the statement "Marler would not have any lawsuits if correct procedures/policies were in place and followed at these operations." Follow the produce from the field to the table, how many hands touch each piece, how many facilities and vehicles-trucks were each item in and out of, how many customers at the retail location touched the item prior to the end purchase...To blame farmers and packing sheds without proper investigation is incorrect. And yes, it may turn out to be either one of those, but it may not. Consumers have an obligation to wash and clean produce before eating.

CT  |  August, 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM

George: I would very much like to see the supporting evidence to your claim made above. I'm not sure what makes you believe that this or other previous recalls were from "organic" crops as I'm actively involved in the industry and have not seen ANY information that links previous melon recalls to organically grown produce. Please refrain from posting "shotgun" comments that can't be supported by anything other than your personal opinions.

nc  |  August, 22, 2012 at 01:10 PM

No problem with NAFTA at all But i can tell you havent been to a veg. ferm in Mexico

Fl  |  August, 28, 2012 at 08:08 AM

I can tell your not a FARMER in Florida either, NAFTA has killed our states Ag industry!!!!! And alot of other states as well...........because Mexico is not competing on the same grounds of Pay Standards, Required Insurances, Child Labor Laws EPA and FDA regualtions, Shame on all for supporting the Mexican growers and not our own

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