Friday, March 28, 2008

A Cantaloupe Recap

The number of cantaloupe recalls is mounting, both in the United States and Canada. In case you've missed the story, here is a recap, including a linked list of all the relevant recalls and alerts announced so far.

The story broke on March 22nd, when FDA issued an import alert to its field officers and to importers and distributors of cantaloupes. The alert followed an investigation that implicated Honduran cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano in an international outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield illnesses. According to the CDC, 50 people in the United States and 9 in Canada were victims of the contaminated cantaloupes.

Here is a list of the cantaloupe recall notices issued so far in the United States.
    And here is the list of Canadian recall notices as of today.
    In a related story, the New York Times reported today that the FDA's actions have caused Agropecuaria Montelibano to lay off 1,800 workers. The Honduran government is protesting the FDA decision to deny entry into the US of cantaloupes produced by the grower/packer, and claims that the cantaloupes are safe to eat.

    One of the reasons for the large number of separate recall notices is that the cantaloupes are distributed through a variety of networks. Some find their way to stores as whole melons, while others are processed into fresh fruit salads for food service operations and restaurants. It takes time for the news to filter through the distribution chain. Until an end has been declared to this outbreak and series of recalls, it would be a good idea to avoid any cantaloupe that is not clearly labeled with its country of origin.

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