Aug. 14, 2012 at 2:52 PM ET
A North Carolina company that has recalled tens of thousands of cantaloupes because of potential food poisoning extended the recall to honeydew melons on Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
Burch Equipment LLC (Burch Farms) of Faison, N.C., is expanding its recall to include all of this growing season's cantaloupes and honeydew melons that may still be on the market. “The honeydew melons involved in this recall expansion do not bear any identifying stickers but were packed in shipping cases labeled melons,” the FDA said in a statement.
“The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors in the states of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia, who may have further distributed them to other states,” the FDA said.
People who bought melons should ask the stores whether they got the fruit from Burch Farms.
The FDA said it found the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) on a honeydew melon grown and packed by Burch Farms.
Listeria can cause sometimes serious food poisoning, although no one has been confirmed sick from this particular recall, FDA said. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, 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,” FDA says.
It can take anywhere from three days to more than two months to get sick after eating food contaminated with Listeria.
Earlier this month, Burch recalled 188,902 melons from stores. Food safety officials are especially wary of cantaloupes after one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S. history last year, in which contaminated Colorado cantaloupes sickened at least 147 people, including at least 30 who died and one woman who had a miscarriage.