The multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium linked to cantaloupes has grown, according to the CDC. Now 178 people are sick with the outbreak strain. Sixty-two people have been hospitalized and two people in Kentucky have died. Chamberlain Farms Produce of Owensville Indiana has been named as being “one source” of the cantaloupes, according to the FDA. That farm has recalled their melons for the 2012 growing season.
The case count is as follows: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4). The CDC says that the product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin, although distributors may have sold the melons to other states. We don’t know if another farm will be implicated in this outbreak.
If you or anyone you know recently purchased Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes, discard them. Retailers and food service operators should not sell or serve Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes.
Public health officials have interviewed 121 patients. Illness onset dates range from July 7, 2012 to August 9, 2012. The age range is from less than 1 year to 100 years, with a median age of 48 years. Fifty-nine percent of patients are female. Of those 121 patients, 62, or 51%, have been hospitalized. That means this Salmonella strain is quite virulent.
Fred Pritzker, national food safety lawyer said, “anyone who ate cantaloupe and is experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should see their healthcare provider immediately. The long term complications of this illness can be severe.”