Chamberlain Farms: Double – or Is It Triple – Outbreak

Cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farm Produce, Inc. are the source of 270 cases of Salmonella infections, according to the latest figures from CDC.

The illnesses were due to Salmonella Typhimurium (240 persons versus the previous tally of 204) and Salmonella Newport (30 persons) in 26 states. Three people are dead, and 101 have been hospitalized in this cantaloupe-linked outbreak.

Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses were reported from the following states: Alabama (16), Arkansas (6), California (2), Florida (1), Georgia (9), Iowa (10), Illinois (26), Indiana (24), Kentucky (70), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (6), Minnesota (5), Missouri (15), Mississippi (7), Montana (1), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (7), Ohio (6), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (5), Tennessee (8), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (6).

Salmonella Newport cases were reported in Illinois (8), Indiana (9), Michigan (1), Missouri (6), Ohio (3), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Salmonella Typhimurium (red) and Salmonella Newport (blue) timeline (from CDC)

Cantaloupe samples analyzed by FDA have yielded both the Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport outbreak strains. In addition, Indiana investigators have found a genetically different Salmonella Newport strain from a sample of watermelon from a field at Chamberlain Farms. Twenty-five illnesses in 8 states are being investigated to determine whether they may be linked to the Chamberlain Farm Produce watermelons.

On August 22nd, Chamberlain Farm Produce announced a recall of its entire 2012 cantaloupe crop. Schnucks Markets reported on September 7th that Chamberlain had expanded its recall to include the farm’s 2012 watermelon crop. So far, this expanded recall announcement has not appeared on the FDA web site. Nor has the public been given any information as to where – other than Schnucks, Logli and Hilander stores – the watermelons were sold.

CDC Advice to Consumers, Retailers, and Others

Contaminated cantaloupe may still be in grocery stores and in consumers’ homes.

  • Consumers who recently purchased Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes are advised not to eat them and discard any remaining cantaloupe.
    • Based on the available information, consumers can continue to purchase and eat cantaloupes that did not originate from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc.
    • Many cantaloupes have the growing area identified with a sticker on the fruit. If no sticker is present, consumers should inquire about the source. When in doubt, throw it out.
    • Consumers who are buying or have recently bought cantaloupe should ask their retailer if the cantaloupe originated from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc.
  • Cantaloupes should be disposed of in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people or animals from eating them.
  • Dispose of any cantaloupes that you think may be contaminated. Washing them will not completely eliminate the contamination. Cutting, slicing and dicing may also transfer harmful bacteria from the fruit’s surface to the fruit’s flesh.
  • Retailers and food service operators should not sell or serve Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe.
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated cantaloupes should consult their health care providers.

I would add watermelon to that advisory statement.

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