FAISON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat whole cantaloupes from Burch Equipment LLC because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. However, it appears the fruit that was sampled by the FDA was only found in product shipped to New York and Maine.
There have been no reported illnesses linked to consumption of the cantaloupes, FDA officials noted in a press release acquired by the Independent Tuesday.
“We continue to investigate this recall but have no additional information at this time,” said Pat El-Hinnawy, Public Affairs officer for the FDA, noting that she would contact the newspaper if there were any changes/updates.
Della King with Sampson County’s Cooperative Extension Service shared that her office had been made aware of the situation but had not been given any additional information other than what was in the FDA press release.
A spokesman with Burch Farms declined comment.
According to the release, Burch Farms had shipped 580 cases of whole cantaloupes on July 15, products that were then distributed to retail stores in New York and Maine.
Consumers who may have cantaloupes with a red label displaying the words Burch Farms and referencing PLU #4319 should discard them as a precautionary measure, the release noted.
The cantaloupes from the the Faison company tested positive for Listeria following sampling carried out in New York as part of routine checks conducted through the USDA Microbiological Data Program.
On July 28, Burch Equipment LLC issued a voluntary recall of the 580 cases of whole cantaloupes.
Listeria produces an illness called Listeriosis. The symptoms are typically characterized by fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.
The FDA is advising consumers to also be aware that the incubation period for listeriosis can be one to three weeks, but may be in the range of three to 70 days.
FDA officials are asking consumers who may have cantaloupes to check the fruit’s tag for a red label reading Burch Farms and referencing PLU #4319, and to destroy any product with this identification. They also suggest that anyone who may think they have become ill from eating possibly contaminated cantaloupes should consult their health care providers.
The cantaloupes were distributed to retail supermarkets in the states of New York and Maine and it is likely those distributors sent them to additional states. Grocery store owners should be aware that the FDA also learned that the cantaloupes were packed into sweet potato cartons.
El-Hinnawy shared that the FDA is working jointly with state officials in North Carolina, New York and Maine to investigate the cause and scope of the Listeria contamination and to ensure that all cantaloupes with the potential for Listeria contamination are removed from the market. Additionally, a recall has been initiated by Burch Equipment LLC.
If anyone should have questions regarding the cantaloupes or any fresh fruit safety may call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or email firstname.lastname@example.org.