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