March 22, 2008: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Cantaloupes

The FDA has issued an alert for cantaloupes imported from Honduran grower, Agropecuaria Montelibana, because the product may be contaminated with Samonella Litchfield.  The cantaloupes have been linked to a Salmonella Litchfield food poisoning outbreak in the U.S. and Canada.

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What’s being done to stop the outbreak?  FDA field officers have been instructed to detain the potentially contaminated cantaloupes that were shipped to the U.S.   Grocers, food service operators, and produce processors are being advised by the FDA to remove from their stock any cantaloupes grown by Agropecuaria Montelibana. Consumers are being advised to check with their grocer to determine if any cantaloupes that they purchased came from Agropecuaria Montelibana. If so, consumers should not eat these cantaloupes due to the risk of Salmonella contamination.

How many people have been affected by the outbreak? Fifty cases of Salmonella food poisoning in 16 U.S. states and 9 cases of Salmonella food poisoning in Canada have been linked to the consumption of cantaloupes.  The 50 U.S. cases were identified between January 18 and March 5, 2008. There have been a total of 14 hospitalizations. States reporting cantaloupe related illnesses are Arizona (1 person), California (10), Colorado (1), Georgia (2), Illinois (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (5), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (5), Tennessee (1), Utah (5), Washington (9), and Wisconsin (3).

What are the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning? Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning may include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. Symptoms usually appear within 12-72 hours after the ingestion of contaminated food. The illness usually lasts 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment. Individuals with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to suffer severe illness.  To learn more about Salmonella, please see  Salmonella Symptoms.

Has the FDA made other recommendations regarding the safe handling of Cantaloupes?  Although consumers are warned not to eat Agropecuaria Montelibano cantaloupes, because they may be contaminated with Salmonella, the FDA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes:

  • Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
  • After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly.
  • Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh cantaloupes.
  • Scrub whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Don’t use soap or detergents.
  • Use clean cutting surfaces and utensils when cutting cantaloupes. Wash cutting boards, countertops, dishes, and utensils with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, or seafood and the preparation of cantaloupe.
  • If there happens to be a bruised or damaged area on a cantaloupe, cut away those parts before eating it.
  • Leftover cut cantaloupe should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel packs when transporting or storing cantaloupes outdoors.

The Law Firm of Eric Weinberg represents individuals who have been sickened in Salmonella outbreaks nationwide. If you have a question concerning you legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274, or see Free Case Evaluation. To learn more about our law firm, please see Food Poisoning Lawyer.

For information regarding recent Salmonella outbreaks, Salmonella food recalls please see Alamosa Salmonella Outbreak, Cantaloupe Salmonella LawyerYuma Salmonella Outbreak, Life Care Dialysis Center NY, and Aunt Jemima Recall.

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