Cantaloupes linked to deadly multi-state salmonella outbreak
August 17th, 2012
07:30 PM ET
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Two deaths and multiple cases of illness across 20 states have been linked to cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

State and federal health officials are advising consumers to discard all cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana, as tests have found evidence of the same strain of salmonella bacteria associated with a multi-state outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.

Learn more about salmonella

The outbreak, which began in July, has been linked to two deaths and sickened at least 50 people in Kentucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration's website, a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. 31 persons have been hospitalized.

The agency cautions consumers not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe, or cut through the outer surface, as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit.

The Indiana farm has agreed to stop distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. Consumers with questions about food safety are encouraged to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the website.

Foodborne illness prevention

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides these recommendations for preventing Salmonellosis

– Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.

– Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

– Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Fast facts on salmonella

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Recent foodborne illness news

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon and at a packing facility in Faison, North Carolina, but no illnesses have been reported.

In 2011 the number of deaths linked to a listeria outbreak in cantaloupe rose to 29, topping a 1985 mark for the most deaths among adults and children. Experts say the third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable.

See all tainted food coverage on Eatocracy

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Filed under: Food Safety • Fruits • Health News • Salmonella • Tainted Food

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Private personal training

    I love Cantaloupe! So this is tough to watch. I feel bad for all the families that lost someone to the deadly multi-state salmonella

    January 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  2. Sal Weiser

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    August 12, 2013 at 4:21 am |
  3. Claudine Harpel

    Some studies show that saw palmetto is as effective in treating symptoms as finasteride (Proscar) without side effects, such as loss of libido. Other studies suggest that saw palmetto may actually shrink the size of the prostate gland. Due to the short duration (usually less than 3 months) of these studies, it is not possible to say for sure whether saw palmetto is truly effective for preventing complications of BPH. In fact, a well-conducted study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that saw palmetto was no better than placebo in relieving the signs and symptoms of BPH.,:,:

    Look at the most recent piece of writing at our own blog page

    July 3, 2013 at 4:30 am |
  4. test2

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your site by chance, and I'm stunned why this twist of fate did not came about earlier! I bookmarked it. test2

    March 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  5. Olen Larrison

    Birds carry West Nile virus. It was almost certainly a bird that brought the virus to New York in the summer of 1999, but no one knows for sure exactly how it happened. The bird may have been ill, or it may have been relatively healthy: some birds die from the infection while others are unaffected. In any case the bird was bitten by a mosquito while the virus was circulating in its bloodstream..

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  6. Canteloupe

    Stop me before I kill again. Hee hee hee.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Watermelon

      You will rot in prison, beginning with your stem.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  7. Scargosun

    Buy local!! Unless you are in Indiana...

    August 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  8. Don

    I got salmonella from pine nuts earlier this year. It was brutal. The grocery store I bought them from paid for my labs and other doctor treatments and gave me a gift card.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      You gotta watch out for them pignolias. Especially Turkish pignolias.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  9. marty

    The short blurb on your homepage says "deaths linked to cantaloupes" and the headline says "cantaloupes linked to salmonella". I'm guessing the article will conclude that the deaths were caused by salmonella.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      Cross me and I'll kill you as well.

      August 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  10. lays

    eet or dond eet . I am very very consusing tell my please :)

    August 21, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Canteloupe

      Eat me. For breakfast.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  11. Canteloupe

    I spent the night alone. Sniff.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  12. What?

    Yeah, sure . . . you get a lot of salmonella in dairy farm "runoff". (You really don't know much about this at all, do you?)

    August 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • What?

      Wrong place – this was a reply to "Person" down at the bottom.

      August 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      It's in the manure, so yeah, in the runoff. Think it through and you'll see what he means.

      August 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  13. Sweet Melon Capital

    Don't forget to report the rest of the story. Growers on a national level provide food for all of us. They have invested millions of dollars in safe food handling practices. As consumers look for the stamp that lets you know where your produce comes from and insures that it has been safely handled and packaged.

    August 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      That's unwarranted government interference in my life by some tree-hugging liberal, right? Ron Paul says the free market will protect us because no one will SELL tainted food, and I bet he knows more than you do about it because he's conservative and all. And old. Really old. Older than dirt.

      August 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  14. Canteloupe

    Pour some bleach water over me and eat me. Eat me RAW. Pant pant.

    August 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Canteloupe

    Even a canteloupe is too smart to vote for Romney.

    August 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  16. Canteloupe

    I hate you all back.

    August 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  17. Cynical Vet

    WELL!! I can see that Dear Leader had best work on this "under the radar" with one of his now rancorously famous executive orders!!

    My God.... cantaloupes KILL people....we must ban cantaloupes IMMEDIATELY before one of the rogue melons commits a mass killing!!

    August 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      "Dear Leader had best work on this "under the radar" with one of his now rancorously famous executive orders!!"

      You are a few years late . . . Dubya's not president anymore.

      August 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Garrett

    Those of you who are saying, Obama or Romney for 2012.. I have a third option.. That is better than both of them.. Gary Johnson, look him up, like him, spread the word. I'm voting for Who I want to win, Not who has the best ODDS or is more popular. Republitards and Democraps, they are pretty much the same now, I can't tell them apart like I could 10 years ago.

    August 20, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Really, I think you Romney-birds are getting pretty desperate. How many different names are you going to use to post this drivel? Get a life, or eat a canteloupe.

      August 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Saul Alinsky

        Obama is a snake-oil salesman.

        August 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
        • Canteloupe

          You are supposed to be talking about me, not making up stuff about Obama running the San Diego DEA office.

          August 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
        • Carmen

          No te gusta la verdad...?

          August 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      Vote for ME, not Romney. I never tied a dog to my car, and I'm pro-Medicare and SS. Plus I'm prettier than Romney and have killed less people.

      August 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. Wastrel

    "Salmonella Canteloupe" - to the tune of 'Simply Irresisible."

    August 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

      Obama ordered that all state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego be shut down by thugs wearing masks to terrorize law-abiding patients. Obama then gave assault rifles to Drug Cartels and has plans to attack more dispensaries in California.

      STOP Obama's WAR – CALL your senator, CALL your representative, CALL all your friends... Please help us.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • stop

        stop bullsh*tting. you'd rather have romney? the guy who has stated he is AGAINST MARIJUANA ENTIRELY?

        August 20, 2012 at 12:13 am |
        • Julie B.

          Yes. Anything is better than a Hypocrite who promised compassion and respect and has only given us terrorism and bigotry.

          August 20, 2012 at 9:33 am |
        • karen

          Obama Lied... why did he betray us?

          August 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
        • Carlos92

          I just watched the video – it was horrible to see these guys in masks putting his crotch in the face of a young patient.
          What a bunch of jerks.

          August 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Hogan's Goat

        "Obama ordered that all state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego be shut down by thugs wearing masks " SURE he did, then he grew wings and flew away. Smoke less, breathe more. You are losing it.

        August 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
        • Carlos92

          What the video dude, it shows what an idiot Obama has become.

          August 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
        • Carlos92


          The truth hurts – Tell Obama to Stop his terrorism.

          August 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
        • Canteloupe

          "What the video dude, it shows what an idiot Obama has become" Yeah, I don't see Obama in it.

          August 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Robert 'Canteloupe' Palmer

      How can it be permissible;
      it's makin' me cynical.
      Sanitation must be mythical,
      it's anything but typical.
      Better wash it in bleach, have a couple bites each,
      It's completely abnormal, but there's no other choice,
      it used to look good to me, but now I call it . . .
      Salmonella Canteloupe

      August 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • she

        simply irresistable...!

        August 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      To the tune of "I need a miracle" by the Dead:

      I need a canteloupe twice my height;
      cut into pieces but I wouldn't eat a bite.
      put it in a sideshow, leave it on a plate,
      put it on the internet and let the haters hate,
      and it's real; it won't go away, oh no.
      Just one thing, then I'll be okay:
      I need a canteloupe every day.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • Robert 'Canteloupe' Palmer

        Might as well face it, you're addicted to canteloupe.

        August 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  20. cole

    I'm with SocrMom I live in maryland, how do i know if my meleon is safe , she's right thanks CNN!!!

    August 19, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  21. mary

    The article says wash cloth dishclothes often if you use them to clean counters. I get mine damp & microwave it. I'm assuming that kills the germs.

    August 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Canteloupe

      Run it through the washer from time to time.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • mary

        I put my microwave in the dishwasher and now it's ruined. Thanks a lot.

        August 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  22. SokrMom

    Thanks, CNN, for all that information on how to tell whether your cantaloupe came from this farm...

    August 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • RichardHead@SokrMom

      Like always, The FDA has not revealed the name of the farm in Southwest Indiana that the melons were grown. I am sure once the information is released ( if ever ) that CNN will announce it.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  23. BEFREE

    you might find the answer in how fast we are growing the melons and also how many melon are supported by one vine. i am told that the more fruit you have on the vine the less protecting agents are delivered to each melon. perhaps we are growing the problem

    August 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • SixDegrees


      August 20, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Yeah, very imaginative for insanely wrong. Rape victims don't close up inside either. Were you all homeschooled?

      August 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  24. Who Dat

    My cantaloupe came from Athens, GA. Cut it up and had some for breakfast. So far so good.

    August 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  25. Surf's Up

    West Nile Virus in Texas.

    Cantelope salmonella in 20 states.

    What more can one ask for? Happy summer!

    August 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  26. jose luis garcia

    it is so unnerving, that when you look for info on something so delicate as a recall of either a product or food item that in this case has the potential to kill people and you want to know more about it you are sent to another website and everything gets so scrambled, you cannot get to the bottom of the information you were looking for and the final answer to your quest. this is progress???? everything, EVERYTHING is so scrambled, everywhere you look this is no freedom of information at all...

    August 18, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • RichardHead

      Check out There is no spin and they are usually the first to break news concerning recalls of food.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • Rocinante

        You must be crazy if you believe that has no spin. That website was started by a very wealthy law firm (Marler Clark) who only cares about making money off these foodborne illness cases. Everything Marler Clark does is self-promoting, and unfortunately, the actions of this law firm have set the U.S. back years in being able to make serious, scientifically-sound reforms to our food supply.

        August 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
        • RichardHead@Rocinante

          What reforms? While Obozo and Congress sit on their hands when good people are dying because major Corporations falsely label the foods they sell to the American people-Bill Marler has continually sued Jack in the Box,Taco Bell,and others when negligence in food product handling and preparation which resulted in the deaths of children,parents and grandparents,has effectively changed how FDA,USDA,CDC and other government agencies must now report recalls of food.

          August 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  27. Georgeanna Modlin

    I really believe that there must be a reason the number of tainted foods has increased a lot over the last few years. Something isnt right, but I dont know what it is except improper handling but I always thought that was a chronic problem. Guess not.

    August 18, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • SixDegrees

      It's very, very simple: our testing is better and more comprehensive than it has ever been in the past. Consider that a handful of reported illnesses is enough to trigger an alert in a nation of over 300 million people, with hundreds of millions of food items shipped and consumed every single day. This simply wasn't possible just a few years ago. Now, it is.

      August 18, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  28. h

    Just went to price rite and bought 2/$4 thank God me and my fiance were tired when we came home and went to sleep and skipped breakfeast now i can get a refund tommorrow what the hell you really can't eat anything anymore without being afraid and praying that you don't die in a week!

    August 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • mike johnson

      This is the reality of organic food ... gimmie some chemical please

      August 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
      • Walchli

        Please before you make comments about ORGANIC farm check out your information, according to what I have read about the outbreak these are conventional melons NOT ORGANIC, because the code is #4319 if organic it would start with a 94319.
        Also with organic, there is alot of documation about the fields, what goes on the field and all happenings in the field and every melon has to be sticker, so it can be trace back to the field it was picked and the date it was picked and packed.

        August 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Person

      This is not just the "reality of organic food." It's also the reality of sharply reduced funding for government regulation and inspection.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Uh – how do you figure? This incident and all others are the direct result of regulation and oversight. There's no lack of monitoring when a handful of illnesses can trigger an alert in a nation of over 300 million people, consuming hundreds of millions of food items per day.

        August 18, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Every canteloupe isn't bad, you know.

      August 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  29. rs1201

    This is awful. I just cup up three cantiloupes for company. I live in CT. Should I be throwing them out? I don't want anyone to get sick. I bought them from Costco in Brookfield, CT. I'll call them tomorrow and find out where that fruit comes from...

    August 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  30. Smukers

    Forty years ago, irradiation was PROVEN to be a sure cure for food illnesses. But the environmentalists prevented irradiation which would have save our loved ones. Comments?

    August 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Octavian

      ...but...but..but...irradiation is believed to somehow cause cancer!

      August 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • NN

        That is scientifically untrue, but what is true that chronic bacteria and virus infections do cause some forms of cancer as well as other serious health issues.

        August 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • NN

      The CDC's position:
      CDC has stated that food irradiation is a promising new application of an established technology. It holds great potential for preventing many important foodborne diseases that are transmitted through meat, poultry, fresh produce and other foods. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrates that irradiation does not harm the nutritional value of food, nor does it make the food unsafe to eat. Just as for the pasteurization of milk, it will be most effective when irradiation is coupled to careful sanitation programs. Consumer confidence will depend on making food clean first, and then using irradiation or pasteurization to make it safe. Food irradiation is a logical next step to reducing the burden of foodborne disease in the United States.

      The FDA considers the process to be equivalent to a food additive:
      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating the use of irradiation in the treatment of food and food packaging. This authority derives from the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) where Congress explicitly defined a source of radiation as a food additive (Section 201(s) of the FD&C Act). The 1958 Food Additives Amendment also provides that a food is adulterated (that is, it cannot be marketed legally) if it has been irradiated, unless the irradiation is carried out in conformity with a regulation prescribing safe conditions of use (Section 403(a)(7) of the FD&C Act). Thus, FDA regulates the lawful use of irradiation through the food additive petition process, the completion of which results in the promulgation of a regulation published in the Federal Register prescribing the approved use.
      This Internet site is intended to serve as a source of general as well as more specific regulatory and scientific information about the irradiation of food and packaging for consumers, representatives from industry, and other stakeholders.

      There is no ban on food irradiation that I can see. But it looks like it's an added expense for the producers and the public is scared of it, which adds up to 'not gonna happen'.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        It's entirely a marketing problem; too many people have an irrational fear of the irradiation process, and anything labeled as irradiated will simply die in the marketplace as a result. I'd happily buy it – irradiated foods are fairly common in Europe and elsewhere – but there aren't enough enlightened souls in the US to make it economically viable.

        And we really ought to be embracing any technique that makes the most of food. With increasing population and decreasing arable land, we can't afford to let food rot on the shelves.

        August 18, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Person

      You're right that luddites have prevented irradiation technology from protecting our food. But you're wrong to base this on environmentalists, as if they all agree and vote together on this issue. They do not. Opposition to irradiation actually tends to come from ordinary American households where people don't understand the difference between irradiation and persistent radioactivity. It's not a political problem, much as you might like it to be. It's a problem of science education.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Don't shoot any rockets at God, either, or He'll thunder us all to death!

      August 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  31. bill

    I'm good. My roommate ate all the cantaloupe last week.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  32. mantex

    This is what happens when you have illegal aliens harvesting crops and crapping and urinating in the fields like they do in Mexico

    August 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • What??

      Well, you got your stupid comment out of the way. Now on to other forums to spread your wit around.

      August 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
      • Dirty Fields

        He's actually right about that.

        In fact, I used to have a relative who would not eat rice. He visited Japan while in the Army, saw what was happening in the rice fields, and it infuenced him forever.

        August 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
        • Canteloupe

          Where do you think American farmers pee?

          August 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jackson

      Wow, you're an idiot. What trailer park did you crawl out of?

      August 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
      • shawn

        It's interesting how you call out mantex with a just as insidious stereotype. Hypocrite.

        August 18, 2012 at 12:43 am |
        • Jackson

          You're right, ignorant racist a$$h*les can come from anywhere. My apologies to trailer park residents.

          August 18, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Ariesrising

      @mantex the last contamination of cantaloupes came from poor sanitation at the packaging plant e.g. unclean equipment. Perhaps you want to volunteer to do harvest work the pay is great and the working conditions unbeatable.

      August 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Person

      In the real world, this tends to come either from lax practices at the packaging plant (which tends to be the fault of cost-cutting bosses, not immigrants) or from animal contamination in water run-off, often from nearby dairy farms.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • marty

      Illegal aliens are absolutely not the source of the salmonella in this instance.

      August 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
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