Cantaloupes recalled after people sick and hospitalized
March 24, 2008
The Food and Drug Administration is telling consumers to throw out any cantaloupe shipped to the U.S. from a Honduran company linked to a salmonella outbreak. That Honduran company in question is called Agropecuaria Montelibano.
Fifty people in 16 states have gotten sick after eating the melons, plus nine people in Canada have gotten sick. While there have been no deaths so far, 14 people have been hospitalized.
The Dole Fruit Company has also announced a recall of cantaloupes purchased from a third party grower in Costa Rica. These cantaloupes have tested positive for Salmonella, although no illnesses have been reported. According to Dole, approximately 6,104 cartons of cantaloupes were distributed to wholesalers in regions of the eastern US and Quebec between February 5 and February 8, 2007. The cantaloupes were distributed for sale in bulk in cardboard cartons, with 9, 12 or 15 cantaloupes to a carton. The recalled cartons of cantaloupes are dark brown with “Dole Cantaloupes” in red lettering. They have a thirteen-digit number on a white tag pasted to the carton; the tenth digit is a 2. Consumers with additional questions should contact the Dole Consumer Center at (800) 232-8888.
Symptoms of foodborne Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections. Individuals who have recently eaten cantaloupe and experienced any of these symptoms should contact their health care professional.
The FDA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes:
- Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
- After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly.
- Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh cantaloupes.
- Scrub whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Don’t use soap or detergents.
- Use clean cutting surfaces and utensils when cutting cantaloupes. Wash cutting boards, countertops, dishes, and utensils with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, or seafood and the preparation of cantaloupe.
- If there happens to be a bruised or damaged area on a cantaloupe, cut away those parts before eating it.
- Leftover cut cantaloupe should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel packs when transporting or storing cantaloupes outdoors.
See also: Cantaloupe non recall