A produce supplier for Walmart has pulled an entire lot of whole cantaloupes from store shelves for fears that they may be contaminated with bacteria that causes salmonella food poisoning.
The Walmart cantaloupe recall was issued by L&M Companies, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina for cantaloupe sold between May 10 and May 15, 2009 at Walmart Supercenter Stores across North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as one Walmart Supercenter Store in South Hill, Virginia.
Salmonella contamination was detected at a small farm that grew the recalled cantaloupe.
According to a press release issued by L&M Companies detailing the cantaloupe recall, shipments have been ceased from the farm and they are continuing to work with the FDA to inform consumers and investigate the cause of the contamination.
So far, there have been no reports of salmonella food poisoning as a result of the potentially contaminated cantaloupe. Symptoms of illness from salmonella typically surface within 12 to 72 hours after consumption of a tainted food and can include severe abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and fever.
“L&M Companies takes food safety seriously and we are committed to the shoppers who buy our products every day,” said Mike McGee, Vice President of Production and Grower Development at L&M. “We are issuing this recall because we want to ensure that even the slightest risk to public health is minimized.”
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning infections. For most healthy adults the symptoms disappear after a few days or weeks, but young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to death.
Health officials estimate that there are more than 40,000 cases of food poisoning from salmonella each year, and there have been several high-profile salmonella poisoning outbreaks in the United States this year.
A nationwide outbreak surfaced in January that was linked to contaminated peanut butter and peanut paste manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, resulting in nine confirmed deaths and more than 600 illnesses.
In March 2009, more than 150 people developed salmonella poisoning from alfalfa sprouts and other sprouts that were linked to contaminated sees sold to growers throughout the United States.
In addition, millions of pounds of pistachio nuts were recalled in March due to fears that they may be contain salmonella contamination. However, it is unknown whether any widespread illnesses have been linked to the contaminated pistachios.
Following the Walmart cantaloupe recall, consumers have been advised to destroy any that they may have in their homes. However, food poisoning lawyers recommend that if a serious illness occurred after eating the cantaloupe, any remaining portion should be preserved in a manner to prevent further consumption until after the potential for a salmonella poisoning lawsuit has been reviewed.