Tainted Cantaloupe Producer Warned of Safety Issues By FDA

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Followers of this blog and recall news in general may remember a series of recalls issued throughout the summer in conjunction with cantaloupes that may have been contaminated by Salmonella.  From July through September, an estimated 261 people across the country reportedly became sick, exhibiting such symptoms as diarrhea, fever, and nausea.  94 of those situations required hospitalization, and three people are even believed to have passed away because of the issue.

The company behind those contaminated cantaloupes, Chamberlain Farms, was recently the recipient of a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration, and that letter was released to the public this week.  In it, the FDA details certain safety violations uncovered during an inspection from August and asks Chamberlain to do what it can to prevent these issues from compromising safety in the future.

Among the issues detailed in the letter, the FDA calls into question the safety of the conveyor which transported cantaloupes.  They say water and debris were found beneath the conveyor and that Salmonella was uncovered on the conveyor itself.  Bird droppings could be found on the processing line, and non-sanitary carpeting was placed on a grading table.  In addition, water from wells and spigots was found to contain E. coli.

Another inspection from September turned up Salmonella from the farm area used to grow the cantaloupes.