Outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe

08/22/2012 11:09:00 PM
Coral Beach

Small or large, growers should be held to the same food safety standards, said Steve Patricio, chairman of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, and Dan Vache, vice president of supply chain management for united Fresh Produce Association, Washington D.C.

Patricio said he is angry and frustrated by the current cantaloupe news. He said the California cantaloupe growers have been working on food safety techniques for their commodity for 20 years and have developed guidelines and materials for growers.

But Patricio and Vache said other entities along the supply chain have responsibilities, too.

Links in the food safety chain

“I’d like to believe that there would be unanimity with retailers on food safety requirements," Patricio said.

Vache said retailers and distributors not only need to require their suppliers to use good food safety practices, but they need to have traceability programs in place for instances such as the current salmonella outbreak.

“Some of these issues will go away when we achieve whole-chain traceability,” Vache said. “Once it leaves the grower’s hands it’s up to the rest of the chain.”

Vache also said retailers need to be diligent about buying from suppliers and distributors who have proven food safety programs. When regular suppliers run low, giving into the temptation to use a source with lower standards can lead to problems.

“It is incumbent upon them to have more discipline in their buying practices,” Vache said.

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Doctor P    
California  |  August, 23, 2012 at 08:03 PM

It looks like locally grown turned out to be a very bad choice this time. Were these grown organically like the deadly outbreak last year that killed 35 people?

Birmingham, AL  |  August, 24, 2012 at 07:59 AM

I want to know about the seeds; are they GMO or not, then lets talk fertilizers and pest control or even cross contamination from nearby farms. These are the questions. I can find no search results on any of these questions in regard to the cantelope. Seems odd right?

Florida  |  August, 24, 2012 at 08:24 AM

I want to know what their irrigation source is. I found their address, but google maps can't seem to pinpoint the exact location. The general area of their farm is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There might be some streams or retention ponds nearby, so those may be their water source. If they are not decontaminating the water, then that would be a likely source of bacteria. SO MANY farms are spraying pond/retention/reclaimed/canal water on their crops with ZERO decontamination! Unless you have a fresh water well that has been demonstrated to be free from any bacteria, you better be decontaminating your irrigation/spray water!

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, Kan.  |  August, 24, 2012 at 08:53 AM

Lori, They are not GM cantaloupe. There is no GM cantaloupe on the market, and GM fruits/vegetables are extremely rare. The Packer doesn't mention this in our coverage is because it is not an issue in this case. As for fertilizers/pesticides, I've never heard of their use leading to the presence of salmonella or other pathogens. The FDA and the grower have not said anything about the possibility of the salmonella originating from any other location. Chris Koger News Editor

Clinton  |  August, 24, 2012 at 09:41 AM

I'm at a loss at to why The Packer and the news media plastered Burch Farms all over everywhere immediately after finding the one cantaloupe and they didn't even release Chamberlain Farms name until a week later after several people were DEAD and over 100 in the hospital. Makes you scratch your head and wonder who is pushing this.

Chris Koger    
Lenexa, Kan.  |  August, 24, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Anon, Please pull up any story from The Packer or other news media that was written before late Aug. 22. As they all state, the FDA would not release the name of the grower. The Packer posted a story naming Chamberlain Farms within the hour of FDA releasing it late Aug. 22. This was less than a week after the initial report of the outbreak. According to the FDA, the name was withheld while the investigation continued. It's safe to assume that the FDA decided to wait until it was 100% certain Chamberlain was a source of the salmonella. The agency continues to investigate whether there are other sources. Publishing the name of a company before we have FDA confirmation would be reckless. Chris Koger News Editor

Chavez Chavez    
CA  |  August, 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I just ate cantaloupe all week and it was delicious. I will buy more soon to support these poor cantaloupe growers. People's immune systems arent what they used to be.

Desert Hot Springs, CA  |  August, 25, 2012 at 12:24 AM

There is no, nor has there ever been, any GMO melons brought to market in the United States. The melons you buys today are hybrids, not GMO. Hybrids are bred by means of cross-pollination, whereas GMO is created in a lab setting and involved modifying gene strands. You can see for yourself at gmo-compass.org where they have a database of all GMO currently being grown and sold.

Don Engebretson    
Minneapolis  |  August, 25, 2012 at 08:27 PM

The question is, organically grown or not? Jumping to conclusions about GMO possibilities is not realistic. Salmonella is nearly always from organic manure fertilizers. The question I cannot discover is, Were they organically grown??? That's where you most often run into the salmonella problems.

August, 28, 2012 at 07:48 AM

The outbreak last year was from a conventional farm, not organic.

Ohio  |  October, 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Thats incorrect. Last years outbreak was at Jensen Fams near Holly, Colorado, a certified organic farm. The worst outbreak in US history in which 30 people died!! No one has identified the field or linked the illness to a organic field, but you can draw you own conclusions given Jensen is an organic farm and uses organic procedures and organic products for fertilizers, as their spokeswoman openly admitted.

Wyoming  |  December, 13, 2012 at 01:31 AM

You are both wrong, Jensen Farms was on transitional ground. Essentially everything was being treated organically. A grower must "transition" the ground for 3 years before the comoodity grown in that ground can market as organic. Most of the commentors here seem to not have much of a grasp on produce production . . . ..

Lisa Gunn    
montrose colorado  |  October, 22, 2013 at 02:43 PM

maybe should get all the story and if his neighbors had a green permit like the epa or montrose county gives out green permits,find out how much water and land his deeds of trust will be selling and if caldwell banker realestate is near

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