Second salmonella strain found on Chamberlain cantaloupe

09/13/2012 05:58:00 PM
Coral Beach

cantaloupeChamberlain Farms cantaloupes have been linked to a second salmonella strain — Salmonella Newport this time — found by federal officials, who report 30 people in seven states are sick from the newly discovered strain.

Cantaloupes from the farm were originally linked to a Salmonella Typhimurium strain health officials say is responsible for 240 illnesses in 25 states, including three deaths in Kentucky. The farm recalled all of its cantaloupes in August.

The Food and Drug Administration posted a statement about the second cantaloupe-related strain Sept. 13.

“The link was supported by traceback information collected by state officials in Indiana and Illinois, showing that patients consumed cantaloupe bought at stores supplied by Chamberlain Farms,” according to the FDA’s statement.

The onset of illnesses linked to the salmonella strains began July 6 and continued through Aug. 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A total of 101 people had been hospitalized from the tainted cantaloupe as of Sept. 13, officials said. The CDC said additional illnesses could still be reported because of the length of incubation time required for salmonella infections to develop.

The news of the second strain in cantaloupes — Salmonella Newport 0807 — comes six days after Chamberlain recalled watermelons because Indiana public health officials found Salmonella Newport 0149 on watermelons still in the field.

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Florida  |  September, 14, 2012 at 08:32 AM

Look at the irrigation water. WHY oh WHY does nobody ever talk about the irrigation water? There are so many growers who draw their water directly from surface water canals and retention ponds without performing ANY decontamination on the water! These waters contain countless amounts of bacteria, and many growers are spraying it directly on the leaves/fruits of their plants! Maybe the growers think that the pesticides/fungicides they mix with the water will kill the bactera... well, they are WRONG! They need to either draw spray water from a clean well, or they need to seriously DECONTAMINATE the surface water they use.

Dallas  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:06 AM

Have you seen any investigation report on this yet. It will be good to see the real source and learn from it. Water is usually the first suspect but most of the reputed guys use proper irrigation system and also, they are audited by 3rd party auditing firms.

Illinois  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:08 AM

The Vincennes area of Indiana has deep, sandy soils with and underlying aquifer, which is where they draw their irrigation water through wells. Certainly you raise a good point about surface irrigation water and contamination risk. But in this case, the aquifer would need to be contaminated if irrigation water is at fault. So, are farms and residences from that aquifer getting sick as well? Perhaps the wild animals, including birds, represent a risk. It shows how complicated food safety issues can be. Are farmers solely responsible responsible for carrying that risk? I hope not, because it just won't pay to farm if this risk needs to be covered.

USA  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:27 AM

Testing their source of irrigation water should be part of their food safety audit. With or without it, or depending on the score, the retailers (who always drive this business anyway) can then choose who they buy from. There has to be change in our industry to the extent that retailers are going to have to start better monitoring their sources, and that's going to mean shopping price less, and paying more for the right product. Secondly, generally speaking, packing lines with washing systems really need to be looked at very specifically in food safety audits. How often is water changed? How often is water tested? What is added to the water for washing purposes as well as for sanitizing and killing any organisms or food safety related issues? I think if we as an industry could get a look at the truthful results of a survey with those three questions (which would never happen), we would be shocked at the results.

Georgia  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:03 AM

Let no forget the most WELLS have loads of bacteria, including Salmonella. It all comes down to how you irrigate, and how you spray. People think that spraying a crop with well or surface water is ok because they have a fungicide in the water

Pennsylvania  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:37 AM

Does anyone know if the folks getting ill are consuming "pre cut" canteloupe that they are purchasing in grocery stores, or convenience marts, or on fruit trays, or are they actually purchasing whole canteloupes taking them home and slicing them? Just wondering if the pre cut trays, clamshells, etc. are acting as an incubator for the salmonella?

USA  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:38 AM

I wonder why California is recalling 28,000 cartons of California cantaloupes are included in the recall. The DFI brand cartons are stamped with "825 CALIFORNIA WESTSIDE." Weren't the companies Burch and Chamberlain blamed by the California Growers not using their high standards and causing problems for the whole industry?

USA  |  September, 14, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Yes they were... but again, this comes down to PACKING LINES. Very few CA growers use packing lines, while a lot of growers in other states use them. I hate to say it, but the food safety audits must heavily scrutinize packing lines and their washing systems. I don't think there is enough emphasis in these audits on where the problems can really come from. How often is water changed? What is added to a wash? How often is the composition tested? These are the things that should drive a food safety audit, not just a score at the end.

Vincennes,IN  |  September, 14, 2012 at 10:09 AM

“I cannot understand why watermelons continue to be mentioned in this story and the other articles tied in with the unfortunate incident involving cantaloupes. My heart goes out to the victims and families of those that have lost loved ones. But it is the farmer’s cantaloupes and not his watermelons that the government says is causing all these problems. I am a farmer, I feed my family watermelons. This farm in question is one farm, out of farms that produces over 4 billion pounds of watermelons a year with no know incidents! The watermelons were found in the field and the farmer announced in a USA Today article on August 24th that he stopped shipping watermelons. The S. Newport DNA fingerprint (0149) is not the same as on the cantaloupes and HAS NOT resulted in any confirmed illnesses. Like one of my valued retailer customers said to me the other day, “We need to get on with the business of selling watermelons that are a healthy and nutritious commodity that I take pride in selling to my customers”.

Indiana  |  September, 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM

I wonder how much of this is due to new testing and identification methods that weren't used 10-20 years ago. Have these organisms always been around, but not tested for? Is it just a matter of increased scrutiny that we are getting so many recalls these days?

Coral Beach    
September, 14, 2012 at 04:47 PM

Kelly, You are correct in stating that there is not confirmation that the Salmonella Newport 0149 is the cause of illnesses, as of Sept. 13 when the CDC posted its most recent update. However, the CDC update does state: "Also as part of the ongoing investigation at Chamberlain Farms, the State of Indiana collected and tested samples of watermelon grown at the farm. One of these samples yielded Salmonella Newport with a different PFGE pattern (.0149). This pattern is indistinguishable from another cluster of 25 ill persons with Salmonella Newport infections in 8 states currently being investigated by state and federal officials. Investigations are ongoing to determine if there is a link between these illnesses and consumption of melons." Coral Beach, staff writer

Brunhilde Merker, CEO    
Florida  |  September, 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM

Bugs are mutating, only the strongest survice. Using chlorine doesn't help much anymore. The problem with all the recalls is, there is not a sufficient recordkeeping and traceback system in place to pin-point the problems in seconds. Traceup to take everyting off the market in minutes is only provided by ScoringAg, that's the known fact. With prevention recordkeeping as required by FSMA and sanitation equipment used in the field and packinghouses could prevent a lot of incidences as we see now almost every day.

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