Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Del Monte Cantaloupe, Recall Issued

Health officials are investigating a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak that may be related to Del Monte cantaloupe. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a dozen cases of Salmonella Panama have been reported in Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), and Maryland (1 case).

The illnesses were reported between February 5 and February 11. Eleven Salmonella victims reported that they ate Del Monte cantaloupe the week before they became ill. According to the CDC, two victims required hospitalization, but no deaths have occurred.

As a result of the outbreak, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. of Coral Gables, Florida is voluntarily recalling 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), cantaloupes were distributed through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Each carton of cantaloupes contains 4 plastic beige mesh sleeves sealed with a plastic orange handle with the Del Monte Logo and indication “3 count, Product of Guatemala” with 3 cantaloupes per sleeve and were available for sale between the 10th of March and the 21st of March, 2011. The cantaloupes, grown in and shipped from a Del Monte Fresh farm Asuncion Mita in Guatemala, have a light brown color skin on the exterior, with orange flesh. The recalled cartons of cantaloupes are dark brown cardboard with the “Del Monte” logo in red lettering and “cantaloupes” in yellow lettering on a green background. The cantaloupes have the lot codes: 02-15-24-10, 02-15-25-10, 02-15-26-10 and 02-15-28-10.

According to the CDC, information gathered with patient permission from membership card records helped determine that Salmonella victims who reported eating cantaloupe purchased products that were sourced from the Asuncion Mita farm in Guatemala. Del Monte Fresh has put on hold the production and distribution of the product from the affected farm.

Consumers who believe that they are in possession of uneaten cantaloupe affected by this recall should return it to the place of purchase for a refund, Consumers in need of additional information may contact 1-800-659-6500 (operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week) or email Del Monte Fresh at Contact-US-Executive-Office@freshdelmonte.com.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually last 4 to 7 days. The infected person develops fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. Most people recover without treatment. However very young and very old people as well as those with weakened immune systems can suffer severe illness and in the worst cases possible death, according to the CDC.

It is important to note that Salmonella-tainted foods generally do not look or smell spoiled.

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