Cantaloupes Recalled Over Salmonella Concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that L&M Companies, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, recalled its whole cantaloupes because of a possible health risk due to concerns of <"">Salmonella


The L&M Companies recall involves one lot of whole cantaloupes; no illnesses have been reported, to date. The whole cantaloupes were sold between May 10-15, 2009 in Walmart Supercenter Stores in North Carolina and South Carolina, and in the Walmart Supercenter Store located at 315 Furr Street in South Hill, Virginia. Consumers who have purchased whole cantaloupes from these Walmart stores during this time period should not consume them, and should destroy the product.

The recall comes after a cantaloupe at a farm from which L&M Companies sources its products tested positive for the Salmonella pathogen. L&M has ceased shipments from this farm, and the grower continues to investigate the cause of the problem.

The Salmonella pathogen can cause serious, sometimes fatal Salmonellosis infections in young children; weak or elderly people; and those with weakened immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or other immune system compromising diseases.

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain within 12 to 72 hours of contamination. Generally, the illness lasts a week, but, in some, hospitalization is required because the infection may have spread to the blood stream and other body sites, producing more severe illnesses. Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonella poisoning can result in arterial infections—such as infected aneurysms—endocarditis, arthritis, and death. Some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.

Salmonella is usually found in food contaminated with animal feces and is a group of bacteria that passes from the feces of people or animals to other people or animals, causing contamination when food is improperly stored or handled and when preparers do not wash their hands or sanitize implements involved in food storage.

Salmonella is the most frequently reported cause of food-related outbreaks of stomach illness worldwide and Salmonella poisoning can lead to Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult-to-treat reactive arthritis characterized by severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. A victim of Reiter’s Syndrome may have already been treated for the initial infection, and it can be weeks before the symptoms of Reiter’s Syndrome become apparent. Reiter’s Syndrome, which can plague its victims for months or years, is said to occur when reactive arthritis is evident and at least one other non-joint area, such as the eyes, skin, or muscles, is affected.

Salmonella poisoning has been a culprit in recent food poisoning outbreaks linked to peanuts and peanut paste from the Peanut Corporation of America; sprouts from CW Sprouts, Inc., SunSprouts Enterprises, and Los Angeles Calco, Inc.; and spices and other food products from Union International Food Company. Other recent Salmonella recalls have involved tainted pistachios from Setton Pistachio; bagged, fresh spinach from Kleen-Pak; and Chinese Vermicelli and Pot Sticker salads from Pasta & Company.

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