“The investigation into this outbreak continues in order to determine whether there are other possible sources,” according to the news release, which was issued via e-mail at 10:40 p.m. Aug. 22.
Neither the news release nor the recall notice included the volume of melons being recalled.
No descriptions or photographs of product stickers, packaging or labels were provided.
The FDA did not mention traceability information in the recall. The news release included a list of states where the cantaloupes were initially distributed.
“Records available currently indicate that this product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, although further shipment was likely,” the Aug. 22 release stated.
Owners Tim and Mia Chamberlain withdrew their cantaloupe from the supply chain Aug. 16-17, according to FDA.
On Aug. 17 health officials in Kentucky announced their state laboratory had confirmed that the salmonella outbreak strain was identical to that found on two cantaloupes grown in Southwest Indiana and collected by investigators at retail.
However, no state or federal officials would reveal the farm’s identity or the retailers that were known to have received Chamberlain cantaloupe.
Repeated calls to Chamberlain Farms from Aug. 19-22 went unanswered.
“After officials from the FDA and the state of Indiana briefed Chamberlain Farms on the current status of the investigation, Chamberlain Farms made the decision to recall its cantaloupe from the market place,” the FDA news release states.
“Earlier Chamberlain Farms had agreed to withdraw the cantaloupe from the market, and to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. However, the decision to formally recall the product will facilitate removal of the product from the market and ensure the widest possible awareness of this action.”
The FDA did not immediately post the recall information on its official recall website.
Salmonella may be present on the inside and outside of the Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe, the news release states. It warns consumers against trying to wash the bacteria off the cantaloupe, instead advising them to throw away suspect cantaloupes.
The release did not explain why FDA officials believe the contamination might be present in the fruit's flesh as well as its exterior.
The most recent outbreak numbers, posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed the outbreak in 21 states, with 178 illnesses and two deaths, both in Kentucky. Sixty-two people have been admitted to hospitals because of the salmonella. The CDC also added Massachusetts to the list of states involved.