Salmonella outbreak in 16 states linked to cantaloupes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Salmonella outbreak in 16 states linked to cantaloupes

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March 23, 2008

Albany -- The U.S. Food and Drug administration is advising everyone that purchased cantaloupe to make sure it didn't originate from Agropecuaria Montelibano. The Honduran grower and packer was named Saturday in an FDA import alert as the possible link to a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the U.S. and Canada.

"That's alarming because I eat cantaloupes," said Peggy Whitton. She is like many consumers - concerned with the alarming number of recent food recalls from peanut butter to pot pies to spinach - all due to possible salmonella contamination.

"I'm diabetic. That wouldn't be too good for me. It wouldn't work," she said.

The symptoms of Salmonella include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. And with reports of more than 50 illnesses from Washington to Georgia, so far, 14 people have been hospitalized after consuming cantaloupe.

According to Agropecuaria Montelibano's website, the Honduran company exports 2.5 million boxes of cantaloupe to the U.S. each year. The FDA recommends anyone that purchased the fruit from this company to throw it away.

We contacted some local grocery stores in the area Sunday and none of them reported having that brand of cantaloupe. The FDA advises anyone that recently bought cantaloupes to check with the place of purchase to find out if it came from Agropecuaria Montelibano.

You can reduce the risk of contracting salmonella by purchasing cantaloupes that aren't bruised or damaged.

You should also wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh cantaloupes.

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