November 18, 2018

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

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.

Cantaloupe SlicesThe 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 and samples taken from canataloupes on the farm matched the outbreak strain.

During their inspection of the farm, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials found conditions similar to those at Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo.,  the source of the deadly cantaloupe Listeria outbreak in 2011. On both farms, inspectors found 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.

Those who became ill ranged in age from less than 1 to 100 year old. The median age was 47. Fifty five percent of the case patients were female. By state, the case counts were 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). 

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