Food Safe Guru – Beware of Cantaloupes (they could kill you)

Posted on August 18, 2012 by

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In 2009, when I founded US Food Safety, the “hot” story was melamine. Then the food safety world exploded with the massive recall by a peanut processor in Georgia called Peanut Corporation of America that tainted the U.S. landscaped with his contaminated ingredients to include over 3,000 products. Right on the heels of this was pistachios, and list goes on and on.

Fast forward to 2012, and we have cantaloupes. An everyday consumer might think that cantaloupes or a honeydew recall doesn’t matter. The “if I don’t buy them, it doesn’t matter” philosophy doesn’t apply here. I will give an example.

Every week, I get together with the girls for a game of cards. Over the years the hostess has served diet soda (which we gave up a few years back), microwave popcorn and veggies and dip or pre-made or home-made fruit salad. We all assume and without a second thought that if we buy the prepackaged fruit or veggies in the market it is safe or even if we buy everything separately and take the time to cut up the produce and serve it, it is fine. Not so fast.

According to an e-mail I received from Attorney Bill Marler yesterday,

According to Bloomberg News, Salmonella linked to cantaloupes are responsible for killing two people and sickening 141 others in 20 U.S. states. Among those sickened, 31 were hospitalized. Kentucky had the most reports of illness, 50, followed by Alabama, 7; Arkansas, 3; California, 2; Georgia, 1; Illinois, 17; Indiana, 13; Iowa, 7; Michigan, 6; Minnesota, 3; Missouri, 9; Mississippi, 2; New Jersey, 1; North Carolina, 3; Ohio, 3; Pennsylvania, 2; South Carolina, 3; Tennessee, 6; Texas, 1; and Wisconsin, 2.

“It is great that state health departments give us the numbers, but why not the name of the farm where the cantaloupes were grown, and more importantly, what grocery stores they were sold at,” Bill Marler, a lawyer at Marler Clark LLP in Seattle who represents more than 40 victims of the Jensen Farms outbreak, said in an e-mail.

I agree. Not naming the grocery stores where the cantaloupes were sold is e unconscionable. Why the secrecy?

US Food Safety has done a quick look at the major regional chains websites including Safeway, H-E-B, Publix, Stop & Shop and others and located the recalled cantaloupes only at Kroger. The information from their website is below.

CANTALOUPE SLICES, **4472;

CANTALOUPE CUBE CUP SMALL RANDOM WEIGHT, **4473;

CANTALOUPE HALF RANDOM WEIGHT, **4368;

CANTALOUPE CUBE CUP SMALL, **4473;

CANTALOUPE CUBE CUP LARGE RANDOM WEIGHT, **4358;

CANTALOUPE ATHENA EAST, 120 EA;

CANTALOUPE HALF, **4368;

MELON MIXED CUBE JUMBO RANDOM WEIGHT, **54830;

CANTALOUPE QUARTER, **4361;

CANTALOUPE CUBE CUP LARGE, **4358;

CANTALOUPE SLICES RANDOM WEIGHT, **4472;

MELON MIXED FRUIT BOWL RANDOM WEIGHT, **54254;

MELON MIXED FRUIT CUP RANDOM WEIGHT, **54253;

MELON MIXED FRUIT CUP RANDOM WEIGHT, **54252;

MELON MIXED CUBE CUP LARGE RANDOM WEIGHT, **4363;

MELON MIXED CUBE CUP SMALL RANDOM WEIGHT, **54878;

MELON MIXED CUBE CUP LARGE, **4363


Affected in Kroger stores located in Greater Memphis, TN, Arkansas, Mississippi and Western Kentucky.

If the above  stores carried the cantaloupe and it isn’t posted or will be posted, it pays to be prudent and safe when shopping anywhere.

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© 2012 US Food Safety Corporation. No copyright claim is made for portions of this blog and linked items that are works of the United States Government, state governments or third parties

Posted in: Family safety