April 19, 2014

Cantaloupe Recalled for Possible Listeria, Again

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Heeren Brothers Produce in Grand Rapids, Michigan is recalling 5,400 Athena cantaloupes that were obtained from an unidentified supplier and distributed to local independent grocers for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Routine sampling by the FDA found the pathogenic bacteria. There have been no reports of illness to date connected with the consumption of the fruit. The cantaloupes were distributed between July 23 and July 26, 2013 according to The Packer. Heeren Brothers Produce issued a recall statement today. The cantaloupes do not have identifying stickers. The company announcement says, "after receiving notice from the FDA, Heeren Brothers Produce immediately alerted retailers and requested that they remove the produce from their shelves." If you have purchased … [Read more...]

After Listeria Outbreak, CA Cantaloupe Growers Began Mandatory Food Safety Program

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The cantaloupe that caused the deadly Listeria outbreak of 2011, wasn't grown in California, but that outbreak prompted California growers to develop a mandatory food safety program that was in effect during this year's growing season.  Although California produces 75 percent of all cantaloupes sold in the U.S., there has never been a foodborne illness outbreak associated cantaloupe grown in California, and the growers there want consumers to know that they are trying hared to keep it that way. “Beginning this year, California cantaloupe farmers and shippers of all sizes will be operating under the only mandatory food safety program that requires government audits of all cantaloupe production activities,” said Steve Patricio, a California melon producer and chairman of the California … [Read more...]

FDA Assesses Causes of 2012 Salmonella Outbreak

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The FDA has released an assessment factors that potentially contributed to the 2012 cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms in Indiana. The outbreak, which was announced in August, sickened 261 people in 24 states. Ninety four people were hospitalized, three of them died. Two stains of Salmonella were involved in the outbreak. A total of 228 people were sickened by Salmonella Typhimurium, and 33 were sickened by Salmonella Newport. The FDA took environmental samples of soil, wild animal excreta, well water, pooling water on field perimeters, drainage ditch water, and cantaloupe. Salmonella was found in soil samples taken form all four growing areas, in the packing house and on equipment. To see details of the FDA’s findings click here. Based on the findings … [Read more...]

FDA To Cantaloupe Growers: Prepare To Be Inspected

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After two major food poisoning outbreaks in two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging the cantaloupe growers to review their practices and to make sure they are doing all they can to prevent dangerous pathogens form contaminating their melons. In a letter to growers, the agency is also telling growers it will be conducting inspections of some operations to make sure these efforts have been made. Combined, the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011 and the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak of 2012 sickened more than 400 people. Thirty six people died.  In both outbreaks, investigators discovered unsanitary conditions in the packinghouses. “Due to our observations at cantaloupe packinghouses, we urge the cantaloupe industry to review its current operations in the … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Outbreaks Spawn Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Group

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After back-to-back seasons of food poisoning outbreaks linked to tainted cantaloupes, growers in the eastern part of the country have formed a new association designed to improve food safety of melons and boost consumer confidence. Cantaloupe is grown differently in the east than it is in west, where the melons are grown in desert conditions. California cantaloupe growers, who pride themselves on never having been associated with an outbreak, have had their own association dedicated to best growing practices for a umber of years. Members of the newly formed Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association must adhere to the growing and handling standards outlined in the document Commodity-Specific Guidelines for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons. They must also agree to submit to unannounced audits … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Wasn’t Our Fault Says Chamberlain Farms

Cantaloupe Recall Outbreak

A cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak that last summer caused 261 illnesses in 24 states and killed three people was linked months ago by federal authorities to Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Ind. Now, the farm’s owners are saying: it’s not our fault. Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made public a warning letter that it sent to Chamberlain Farms, outlining the problems discovered during a post-outbreak inspection of the farm, making recommendations to address the problems and giving a deadline for response. The agency sends warning letters in situations where problems discovered don’t have quick fixes. The warning letter to Chamberlain Farms re-stated previously published information: that environmental swabs taken from various locations in melon fields yielded … [Read more...]

Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks Of 2012: #2

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A Salmonella outbreak linked cantaloupe produced on an Indiana farm was second largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak of 2012, based on the total number of people sickened. With three fatalities, it was also one of the deadliest. The outbreak, which was announced in August, sickened 261 people in 24 states and put 94 people in the hospital- the most hospitalizations of any outbreak during 2012. Two strains of Salmonella were involved in the outbreak. A total of 228 people were sickened by Salmonella Typhimurium, and 33 were sickened by Salmonella Newport. The three deaths were in Kentucky. Public health investigators traced the origin of the outbreak to Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. in Owensville, Indiana. A recall of the melons was announced on August 22. Environmental swabs … [Read more...]

Keep Cantaloupe in the Fridge

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In the summers of 2011 and 2012, the United States was hit by two deadly food poisoning outbreaks caused by cantaloupe. Bacteria on that product are especially insidious, since they can cling to the webbing on the surface of the fruit. Washing does not remove all of the bacteria. So a study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that it is crucial that cantaloupe always been refrigerated. The researchers looked at the behavior of Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria responsible for the 2011 Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak that sickened 147 people in 28 states. At least 33 people died in this outbreak, which was caused by five subtypes of the bacteria. In the study, whole cantaloupes were inoculated with L. monocytogenes for 10 minutes, then air dried and treated three … [Read more...]

Final Update of Salmonella Infections Linked to Chamberlain Farms Cantaloupe

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its final update on the Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana. The outbreak appears to be over. A total of 261 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium (228 people), and Salmonella Newport (33 people) in 24 states. The case count per state is as follows: Alabama (25), Arkansas (6), Florida (1), Georgia (13), Illinois (36), Indiana (30), Iowa (9), Kentucky (66), Maryland (1), Michigan (8), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (7), Missouri (17), Montana (1), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (5), Ohio (5), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (4), Tennessee (8), Texas (2), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (9). … [Read more...]

Deja Vu, FDA Finds Food Safety Violations At Cantaloupe Farm

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Two deadly foodborne illness outbreaks one year apart were both were caused by cantaloupe and similar food safety violations, according to inspection reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Poor sanitation in the packing shed, equipment that was difficult to clean, buildup of dirt and grime on food contact surfaces and pooling water on the floor of the packing shed were all cited in FDA inspection reports of Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo. last year and Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Ind., this year. The cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011 linked to Jensen Farms sickend 147 people and killed 33.  The cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms, has sickened 270 people, hospitalized 101 and killed three, according to the lastet information from the … [Read more...]

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