Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Update on Salmonella in Cantaloupe

Believe it or not, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has an update on his blog about the salmonella outbreak from cantaloupe. He held a meeting last Thursday in Washington with Honduran ministers and sent some FDA folk to Honduras over the weekend to investigate.

FDA Commissioner Andy Von Eschenbach (who works under Leavitt) also took part in the Washington meeting. I wonder if he'll blog about it.

Here's the interesting part of this update. The FDA investigators who traveled to the Agropecuaria Montelibano plant in Honduras said on Monday that yes, they did find salmonella in their melons. But it was a strain called salmonella freetown. The 50 people who are part of this outbreak in the US were infected with a different strain, salmonella litchfield. Where did the salmonella litchfield come from, if not Honduran melons in the field?

Yesterday while shopping I noticed the display of Dole cantaloupe had been removed. I wondered if Dole was part of the alert (not a recall, the FDA doesn't have authority to recall, they merely "advised" grocers to remove product from shelves, a voluntary action on the part of sellers).

It looks like Dole is part of the alert:1

The FDA identified 10 US importers who received cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano during the outbreak:

Bounty Fresh LLC, Miami
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.
Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.
Chiquita Brands International Inc., Cincinnati
Dole Fresh Fruit International, Westlake Village, Calif.
Legend Produce LLC, Firebaugh, Calif.
Pero Vegetable Co. LLC, Delray Beach, Fla.
T.M. Kovacevich International Inc., Philadelphia
Tropifresh Inc., Los Angeles
Wuhl Shafman Lieberman Corp., Newark, N.J.

In addition to Chiquita and Dole, brands affected are:

Chestnut Hill Farms
Perfect Melon
Mike’s Melons
Mayan Pride

Product also was recalled by processors:

Charlie’s Produce Spokane, Spokane, Wash.
Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., Richmond, British Columbia
Simply Fresh Fruit, Los Angeles
Spokane Produce Inc., Spokane, Wash.
JARD Marketing Corp., Lawrence, Mass.
1 FDA Confirms Presence Of Salmonella In Melons
Photo of Cliff and Adeline Herbst and their 14-pound cantaloupe from the 2008 Bandera County Courier, TX.

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