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Cantaloupe Recall Expanded to Include Whole Growing Season, Honeydew

Burch Equipment LLC in North Carolina is expanding its recent recall of nearly 189,000 cantaloupes to now include all of this growing season’s cantaloupes and honeydew melons distributed in 18 states because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

In the U.S. Food and Drug Administration update, issued very early Saturday morning, the agency noted that here have been no illnesses reported to date — the recall expansion is based on FDA’s recent finding of Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon grown and packed by Burch Farms.

The original recall of cantaloupes was initiated on July 28 after a Microbiological Data Program in New York found contaminated cantaloupe. Two days later, the recall was greatly expanded and the FDA warned the public to not eat the recalled melons after agency officials reported unsanitary conditions at the company’s packing shed.

Now, more than 10 days later, the company and FDA are casting a wider net on the potentially-contaminated melons, including honeydew, which were not previously part of the recall. Earlier this week, the company clarified that although it had originally identified Athena cantaloupes as the variety it was recalling, it was actually recalling Caribbean Gold variety.

According to FDA the recalled 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 the same PLU, but Cottle Strawberry, Inc. did not grow or process the recalled cantaloupe.

Cantaloupes from Burch Farms were shipped in both corrugated boxes, which contain 9 cantaloupe per case, and in bulk bins.

FDA said that Honeydew melons involved in the recall expansion “do not bear any identifying stickers and were packed in cartons labeled melons.”

The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors between June 23 and July 27 in several states, including: FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA, VT and WV.

FDA said that the melons could have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states as well.

“Consumers who may have purchased these honeydew melons should contact the store where they purchased their melons, for information about whether those melons are part of this recall,” said FDA.

The agency typically does not post a list of retailers who received recalled product, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture often does.

The recall comes just weeks after the USDA decided to keep produce sampling at MDP up and running through the end of the year after the program had been slated for closure due to budget cuts and nearly a year after the deadly Listeria outbreak linked to Colorado cantaloupes last fall.

Burch Equipment LLC is asking consumers who may recalled cantaloupes or honeydews to discard them.

As the agency explained early Saturday, Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, but can be less of a risk for those with healthy immune systems.

“Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea,” but the infection also poses a particular risk to pregnant woman because it can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

The incubation period, otherwise known as the length of time between consuming a product and becoming ill, for Listeria monocytogenes can be 1 to 3 weeks, but can also be as little as three days or as long as 70 days.

© Food Safety News
  • Alberta Morrison

    I think you would do better to teach people how to guard against food born pathogens. Wash the food! You say it was spread by unsanitary conditions. How do you know sickness was not caused by lack of sanitation in the kitkchen! How can you truthfully say WHAT caused an illness over a 70 day period! You even say there were no illnesses, and yet you ruin a food producing company with crop recalls. Instead, try timely inspections to prevent unsanitary conditions,and teach people to clean foods.Wash the cantalopes with a brush before cutting.

  • vera

    It seems to me FDA is been used to destroy another American farm and family business…..no illnesses has been reported, but they will expand the recall?? 70 days incubation?? How can you even tell……..? Why don’t we stop all food production in USA – just in case ……..lets import it from China or Mexico….. There is no contamination there LOL! And somebodys buddy own food import company to fill the void and replace recalled product.

  • candy

    or another idea is for Burch Farms to take responsibility for their business and clean up the unsanitary conditions in their packing shed.. then the FDA wouldn’t have to be blamed for ‘destroying another american farm’

  • FdS

    I think it would be better that all food producers showed us how they handle their agricultural practices regardless of which country they are produced. You will be surprised specially here in the USA. Being a MEXICAN exporter, I was very disappointed when I visited plenty of farms in California, Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Colorado. You are welcome to visit our facilities at any time, provided that you visit the ones in the USA as well.

  • http://www.ScoringAg.com William Kanitz Pres.

    You will be surprised specially here in the USA. Being a MEXICAN exporter, I was very disappointed when I visited plenty of farms in California, Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Colorado.
    Yes, some farms only think cheap production and are trying to sell their production at the lowest price possible to gain market share with not any funds devoted to food safety at all. All operations need to set aside a amount of operating funds for food safety whether large or small farms or packers if the MDP is doing random checks on pathogens. One factor is that the mandatory FSMA rule on labeling and recordkeeping is in effect and when a problem is discovered, you had better have your labeling, test and hold and prevention GAP’s recorded or the Feds will be required to recall everything. This is what ScoringAg does very well and we are proud of it.

  • http://www.ScoringAg.com William Kanitz Pres.

    You will be surprised specially here in the USA. Being a MEXICAN exporter, I was very disappointed when I visited plenty of farms in California, Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Colorado.
    Yes, some farms only think cheap production and are trying to sell their production at the lowest price possible to gain market share with not any funds devoted to food safety at all. All operations need to set aside a amount of operating funds for food safety whether large or small farms or packers if the MDP is doing random checks on pathogens. One factor is that the mandatory FSMA rule on labeling and recordkeeping is in effect and when a problem is discovered, you had better have your labeling, test and hold and prevention GAP’s recorded or the Feds will be required to recall everything. This is what ScoringAg does very well and we are proud of it.

  • Bea

    Local is always better because they aren’t picked as unripe as things shipped from other places. The riper they are when picked, the better the flavor. Growing up, my mother NEVER put anything in the refrigerator without cleaning it first. That included milk or anything that went into the refrigerator. People, no matter where they live, should get back into that habit. Usually, there was a drop or two of bleach in the water she used & that helped to kill at least some of the germs, etc. that were on things. [Cross contamination?]

  • Mark Mandel

    Alberta Morrison, washing it won’t help. From the FDA’s website (http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/CORENetwork/ucm315879.htm):
    As a result of the state investigations, FDA advises consumers not to eat cantaloupe from southwestern Indiana and to throw them away. Do not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the cantaloupe. Cutting, slicing and dicing may also transfer harmful bacteria from the fruit’s surface to the fruit’s flesh. When in doubt, throw it out.

  • Sam

    Vera, you might feel differently if it was one of your family members sick or even worse, dead. Yeah, its mean ol FDA picking on people. Hardly. I dont know why it is people think growers and companies arent liable for their lack of sanitation. Testing for salmonella is inexpensive. But I suppose seeing how you dont think anything is wrong with the melons, why dont you ask for them all to shipped to your place & you can eat them. I, for one, am glad we have FDA. Too bad their budget has been slashed to the point they are barely able to do anything.