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Wilburn: Handle cantaloupe carefully to avoid salmonella

POSTED: April 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued an alert regarding cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because fruit from this company appears to be associated with a salmonella litchfield outbreak in the United States and Canada.

As of March 22, the FDA has received reports of 50 illnesses in 16 states, including Georgia, and nine illnesses in Canada linked to the consumption of cantaloupes. No deaths have been reported; however, 14 people have been hospitalized. The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The FDA is taking this measure while the agency investigates this outbreak. This is part of the FDA's Food Protection Plan.

Symptoms of foodborne salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In people with poor health or weakened immune systems, salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections. Individuals who have recently eaten cantaloupe and experienced any of these symptoms should contact their health care professional.

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.



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