The Indiana farm at the center of the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak just issued a recall for its watermelons. A test recently confirmed that the source of the ongoing Salmonella cantaloupe outbreak was Chamberlain Farms.
Chamberlain Farms is now collaborating with state and federal officials to identify the origin of food borne illness tied to its melons, said The Associated Press (AP). According to a Chamberlain Farm Produce Inc. statement it just released, the farm indicated that it did not know of any illnesses linked to its watermelons.
“We are continuing to cooperate fully with authorities at the FDA and the Indiana State Department of Health to determine the full facts about the source of the Salmonella found on our watermelon,” the statement said, according to the AP. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokeswoman, Pat El-Hinnawy, confirmed a probe is underway for the Chamberlain watermelons.
Indiana State Department of Health spokeswoman, Amy Reel, stated that the Salmonella strain detected in the watermelon was found during an inspection of the farm that was preceded by the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak. To date, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 204 people in 22 states have been sickened; two people died and 78 have been hospitalized. According to Reel, said the AP, Chamberlain Farms only produces cantaloupes and watermelons.
Reel also confirmed that no illnesses have been linked to the farm’s watermelons, but noted that the same Salmonella strain found in the watermelon has been linked to some illnesses, said the AP. In fact, according to the CDC in August, the strain found in the watermelon was among the three Salmonella strains that were linked to a live poultry that was linked to 163 people in 26 states.
United States health officials previously said that the strain involved with the contaminated cantaloupe is Salmonella Tynphimurium. The recall was announced by the FDA on August 22.
Meanwhile, we just recently wrote that the first lawsuit was filed in the ongoing outbreak and involved a Michigan woman who is suing Walmart for selling the cantaloupe. According to Angela Compton of Battle Creek, Michigan, who purchased three cantaloupes on July 12 from her local Walmart, the fruit sickened both of her children who were hospitalized and tested positive for the Salmonella pathogen. The lawsuit was filed in Calhoun County Circuit Court in Michigan.
Walmart told Bloomberg.com that it had begun contacting its outlets late last week to remove cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana. Also, Tim Chamberlain of Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana, said he voluntarily stopped production on August 16, adding that he has had no other issues at the farm since it opened in 1982, said the AP. The agency advised Chamberlain Farms on August 16 that his cantaloupes posed a potential health risk. According to Chamberlain, he is not aware of the what caused the outbreak.
Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces, according to the Mayo Clinic, said CBS/AP.