The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to not eat cantaloupes processed by Burch Equipment LLC of North Carolina because the fruit may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The 580 cases of whole cantaloupes were shipped to establishments in New York and Maine, but the distributors may have shipped the cantaloupes to other states.
Hannaford Supermarkets, which carries the cantaloupe, has stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The cantaloupes have a red label displaying the words “Burch Farms” and the number “PLU #4319”. And here’s a twist: the FDA has learned that the cantaloupes were packed into sweet potato cartons.
While no known illnesses have been reported in connection with the consumption of these cantaloupes, the FDA is telling consumers who think they may have been sickened after eating cantaloupes to visit their healthcare provider. The symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other stomach problems. Pregnant women may think they have a mild case of the flu, but complications of this infection can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.
While listeriosis, the illness caused by the Listeria bacteria, usually occurs within 1 to 3 weeks, the incubation period can range from 3 to 70 days. That means that someone who ate the cantaloupes may still become sick with a Listeria infection by September 24, 2012 or later.
If you have questions, you can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The FDA is working with state officials in New York, North Carolina, and Maine to investigate the case and ensure that all of the cantaloupes have been removed from the market. Burch Equipment has also initiated a recall.