Date PostedAugust 28, 2012

Retailers Respond to Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

According to a post by FoodSafety.com major retailer have reacted to the salmonella outbreak that affected some its produce.  The cantaloupe contamination outbreak which took the lives of two consumers, has led companies such as Walmart to speak out about the incident, reassuring customers of the safety of their cantaloupe produce.

The post by Foodsafety.com had this to say about the outbreak:

Grocery retailers such as Wal Mart, Kroger and Valu Market are reassuring customers that none of the cantaloupes in their stores are those affected by the ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes grown at an unnamed farm in southwestern Indiana that have killed 2 people and sickened at least 141 across 20 states.

The day after the outbreak was announced on Friday, Aug. 17, Wal Mart Stores, Inc. instructed managers at all the company’s stores to discard any cantaloupes grown in Indiana out of caution. The company could not confirm if any stores sourced cantaloupes from Indiana, but did confirm that no Sam’s Club stores carry Indiana cantaloupes.

Kroger, Valu Market and Paul’s Fruit Market stores around Kentucky and Indiana posted signs in stores informing customers that they did not source their cantaloupes from Indiana, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Kentucky has been the hardest hit state in the outbreak, with both deaths and 50 illnesses.

Health officials have refused to name the farm connected to the outbreak, but have confirmed that it will not be shipping out any more cantaloupes for the remainder of the season.

Indiana produces approximately 1 percent of the cantaloupes grown in the U.S. The majority come from California, where the industry has established numerous food safety standards.

In a statement released following the news of the outbreak, the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board reminded consumers that cantaloupes grown in California have never been associated with a foodborne illness outbreak, and that Californian growers have a track record of strengthening food safety standards over the past 20 years. Those safety standards now include mandatory government inspections of farms and packing facilities, as well as traceback measures in cases of recalls.

“It is very important that consumers understand the commitment to food safety the vast majority of cantaloupe producers have and that the current outbreak is the result of one individual operation that did not follow these well-established safety practices for packing cantaloupe,” the statement read.

“However,” it went on, “more concerted efforts must be made by the produce industry and our government agencies to find these bad actors in order to protect consumers as well as the people who rely on the cantaloupe industry for their livelihood.”

Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/08/retailers-respond-to-cantaloupe-salmonella-outbreak/

The Salmonella family includes over 2,300 types of bacteria which are one-celled organisms too small to be seen without a microscope, however they are still able to cause considerable illness, usually diarrheal. The two most common types of salmonella contamination in food are through raw meat and eggs.

The problem with salmonella contaminated foods is that they seldom smell or look spoilt so it may be difficult to identify until it is too late.  Fruits and vegetables can also be contaminated by food handlers who don’t wash their hands or as in the case of the cantaloupes the contamination may have something to do with the water used when growing the fruit or once the fruit was harvested contaminated water may have been used to wash the fruit.

Salmonella lives in the intestinal tract of humans and other animals such as birds and is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal faeces. Salmonella poisoning usually doesn’t last more than a week and normally does not result in death.

 

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