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FDA Issues Update on Burch Farms Melons Recall

Listeria monocytogenes found on honeydew and in packing facility

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reminding consumers that the Burch Farms cantaloupe recall was greatly expanded over the weekend. As of last week, 189,000 cantaloupes had been recalled, but the company has now extended their recall to include this growing season as well as honeydew melons after investigators found Listeria monocytogenes in the farm’s packing facility and on a honeydew melon grown and packed by the company.

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.

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

The melons were shipped to distributors in 18 states — Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia — but distributors in those states may have further distributed them to other states.

FDA recommends that consumers who think they may have purchased the honeydew melons, which do not bear identifying labels, contact the grocery store where they purchased them and “ask for information about whether their melons originated from Burch Farms.”

The recall has now been expanded twice. After announcing the recall on July 28, because the Microbiological Data Program in New York found Listeria on the farm’s cantaloupe, the company later expanded the recall Aug. 2 after FDA investigators found “unsanitary conditions” in the company’s packing facility. The recall was most recently expanded early Aug. 10 to include the whole growing season and honeydew melons.

Last week the company also clarified that the recall notices originally listed the wrong variety of cantaloupe — the company is recalling Caribbean Gold cantaloupes — not the Athena cantaloupes, as had previously been reported.

FDA also reminded consumers Tuesday that the incubation period for a Listeria infection is normally between one and three weeks, but can also be as long as 70 days. To date, no known illnesses have been reported that are linked to consumption of the honeydew melon or cantaloupes included in this recall. The FDA said it would provide further updates as they become available.

According to FDA, Listeriosis, caused by Listeria monocytogenes, “is typically characterized by fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.”

© Food Safety News
  • Nathan

    Wait a second, how could you not have set up an environmental monitoring program in a cantaloupe facility after the tragic Listeria outbreak last year?

  • Ben

    Some companies have never been inspected by anybody. They are not even registered with FDA. They try to fly underneath the radar as long as they can, telling there wasn’t anything wrong in the past. Really!? As the inspections and tests are getting thougher we’ll see more contaminated products pulled off the market on daily basis.

  • The FDA only has enough money to inspect farms and packing houses every 5 to 7 years. After inspectionsthey do not check back to see if problems have been corrected. Congress has not given the FDA the power to punish places that fail inspections.It is no wonder we have problems with food born pathigans

  • Jay

    Its so nice to know that it only took several weeks to here of the recall, Above letter dated aug 14th, but also in the letter july 228th and aug 2nd WHAT THE **** THIS CAN KILL YOU WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO HERE ANYTHING ???WHY ???