US processors alerted over fruit scare

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food and drug administration

US food processors have been warned by the country's food safety
body against using cantaloupes shipped from a Honduran grower and
packager, over concerns of a potential salmonella risk.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the announcement this weekend, due to concerns regarding an alleged link between Honduras-based Agropecuaria Montelibano and a salmonella outbreak throughout the US and Canada. The FDA has therefore called on processors and retailers across North America to detain and remove any samples of the melon-like fruit from their stocks if supplied by the company. In an official release, the FDA said the action, which has generated some concerns from Honduran officials, was a preventative measure as investigations into the outbreak source were ongoing. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention will be working along with state officials as part of the investigation, which the FDA says is part of its Food Protection Plan. In order to reduce any possible risk of salmonella contamination in cantaloupes, the Administration urged consumer and the wider-food industry to avoid using fruit that is bruised or damaged. Although the outbreak has not resulted in any reported fatalities, 59 people throughout the US and Canada have reported illness suspected to have resulted from consuming cantaloupes, with 14 hospitalised, the FDA stated. HondurasReaction ​ Following Sunday's announcement of the recalls, the Honduran agricultural minister stated that the country's own officials were now working with their US counterparts to investigate the claims, according to the Canadian Press Agency. Honduras' trade minister has called on the US and Canadian authorities to compensate the country's producers for stalling trade of their product before proving any link between the fruity and the disease. The report also cited Agropecuaria Montelibano general manger Edilberto Rodriguez, who stressed that all shipments of the fruit bound for the US was checked by the country's own inspectors on arrival. Rodriguez claimed therefore that the company had not received any complaints from clients in the US or Europe over its operations before the current recall.

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