Cantaloupe Farmer Named in Outbreak

Cantaloupe Farmer Named in Outbreak

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Due to a link to a multi-state salmonella outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration last night announced the recall of cantaloupe from Chamberlain Farms, Owensville, Ind.

State and federal agencies waited several days after announcing the outbreak’s link to Indiana cantaloupe before naming the farm.

Chamberlain Farms shipped the tainted cantaloupe to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois, but the shipments may have been sent on to other states, the FDA said. 

Read more: CDC: 141 Infected by Cantaloupe-Linked Salmonella [4]

The outbreak has sickened 178 people in 21 states, and caused two deaths in Kentucky, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixty-two people have been hospitalized.

FDA said it would continue to investigate “to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.”

After listeria-tainted cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, Colo., caused 146 illnesses and 30 deaths last year, industry groups started work on cantaloupe-specific food safety guidance and research.

California state-specific guidance has already been created, and ongoing webinars open to the industry are being used to develop international guidance, Robert Whitaker, chief science and technology officer at the Produce Marketing Association, told SN. Funded research will be announced next month.

Read more: Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Causes Two Deaths [5]

Whitaker urged buyers and producers to not wait for official training and to take advantage of information available in webinars and on www.cantaloupe-guidance.org [6], which both include discussions by food safety experts, growers, handlers, shippers, handlers and regulators.

“You certainly don’t have to wait for official or formal training to take place when this information is largely available to you right now,” he said.

He said a lack of knowledge isn’t likely a cause for the recent outbreaks.

“And I think illustrative of this is the last couple things we’ve seen with cantaloupes going back to last October and then more recently in North Carolina [Burch Farms recalled cantaloupe due to a possible contamination, with no illnesses reported] and what appears to be southwest Indiana right now. From what we know, there wasn’t a lack of knowledge that was a problem that caused these outbreaks, it was really a lack of execution against things that we already know are good food safety practices,” he said. 

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