FDA Probes Contaminated Farm as Source of Deadly Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak

As we enter the new year, people are full of resolutions, the most common of which is to eat healthier.  It appears the federal government has a similar resolution because they have taken multiple steps in the first month of the new year to address food safety concerns aimed at cleaning up facilities which had food contamination.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly investigated one farm linked to the production of tainted cantaloupe.  The farm at the heart of the investigation was linked to the dissemination of cantaloupe that was infected with salmonella.  A resulting outbreak affected 261 people in 24 states, killing 3 people in the state of Kentucky.

The FDA Presses Contaminated Farm for Corrective Action to Prevent Consumer Injury

Following this outbreak of consumer injury, the FDA has become concerned that it has not received information regarding how the farm plans to take corrective actions.  How will the farm prevent further food contamination which may lead to consumer injury? Prior to the holidays, the FDA sent the farm a stern letter in which it sought demonstrations of corrective action to prevent further consumer injury due to food contamination.

The FDA believes that based upon soil samples, food contact surfaces, and other samples taken around the farm, there is a "widespread Salmonella contamination" on the farm. Their testing concluded multiple potential sources of contamination including:

  • organic material in the conveyor belt that could encourage bacteria growth
  • infected food preparation surfaces
  • mud, trash, and dirt beneath the conveyor belt and rinsing areas which contained algae 
  • bird feces in the roof rafters above the processing equipment, suggesting this feces had dropped onto the food itself 
  • contaminated water containing E-coli and C-coli
  • potentially unclean carpeted surfaces in the packing area which could harbor bacteria
If You Have Been Injured by Contaminated Food

If you have been injured by contaminated food, you could be at serious risk of lasting injuries, including death.  Depending upon the contamination, you could experience symptoms as mild as nausea to extreme conditions that could kill you.  You should seek immediate medical attention if you have suffered an injury due to a food contamination.  You should also seek the help of a skilled personal injury attorney to determine whether or not you may be entitled to compensation for these injuries.