Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupes Recalled in 11 States

August 10, 2012

2 Min Read
Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupes Recalled in 11 States

WASHINGTONThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to consume Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupes from Burch Equipment LLC in North Carolina because they may be contaminated with Listeria. The melon recall comes nearly one year after a deadly Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes from Colorado killed 30 people and sickened 133 persons in 26 states.

On July 15 and July 27, Burch Equipment recalled nearly 200,000 whole Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupes from commerce. The melons were shipped between July 15 and July 27 and distributed in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The whole cantaloupes are identified by a red label reading Burch Farms referencing PLU # 4319. All cantaloupes involved in the recall were grown by Burch Farms, however some of the cantaloupes may have been identified with a "Cottle Strawberry, Inc." sticker referencing PLU #4319.

Last summer, cantaloupes were the cause of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes was the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in over 25 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 30 people died and 133 persons in 26 states were sickened with the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes linked to whole cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms production fields in Granada, Colo. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage.

An FDA report revealed the use of new processing equipment and the decision to implement a packing and washing technique involving water without added chlorine were two probable causes of the introduction and spread of the Listeria contamination. The report also called into question third-party audits conducted at the facility. FDA said the outbreak would have likely been prevented if Jensen Farms had maintained its facilities in accordance with existing FDA guidance. In the case of cantaloupe processing, FDA has no specific regulations, only guidance. The guidance which Bio Food Safety did not consider in its audit represents the agencys best and most timely advice on how processing should be handled.

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