(Nov. 20) For the first time in the company’s 22 year history, Timco Worldwide Inc., Woodland, Calif., issued a voluntary recall Nov. 14 for potentially tainted produce.

Andrea McNeese, special projects coordinator for Timco Worldwide, said the recall is for nine pallets of Sandia brand cantaloupes that were shipped to four cities — Phoenix, Colorado Springs, Colo., Dallas and Okeechobee, Fla. — from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6.

McNeese said the Food and Drug Administration got a positive result for salmonella during testing of the cantaloupes Oct. 30. The FDA alerted Timco Worldwide to the positive test on Nov. 13, she said.

“Timco Worldwide immediately traced the pallets and alerted the customers who bought the cantaloupes within 24 hours of the FDA notification,” McNeese said.

Consumers who may have purchased the cantaloupes are asked to return them to the retailer for a full refund, McNeese said.

Upon learning of the positive test, McNeese said Timco Worldwide accelerated its own testing program and retained a third-party laboratory to conduct independent tests of the packing facility and the facility’s water. So far, she said all of those tests have been negative for salmonella.

McNeese said the cantaloupes were grown in Mexico. She said Timco Worldwide requires growers of imported produce to meet the strictest standards.

“Timco Worldwide works only with Mexican growers who are FDA and Primus certified,” McNeese said.

Timco Worldwide ships 200 million pounds of produce annually, she said, and until this recall had a spotless record.

Timco Worldwide reached a licensing agreement with Sundia Corp., San Francisco, earlier this year to ship melons bearing the Sundia label.

Four years ago, the FDA imposed a ban on Mexican cantaloupe when the melons were linked to four salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. over a three-year period. The FDA subsequently began approving the importing of Mexican cantaloupes on a case-by-case basis after growers were able to prove their product was safe.

By mid-October, the FDA had authorized a total of nine Mexican growers to resume shipping cantaloupes to the U.S.