updated 3/23/2008 4:41:29 PM ET 2008-03-23T20:41:29

People should throw away cantaloupes from a Honduran manufacturer believed to be linked to a salmonella outbreak.

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The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert Saturday for melons from Agropecuaria Montelibano. Grocers are advised to remove from their stock any cantaloupes from this company. People should check with stores to see if recently purchased cantaloupes came from Honduras.

So far, 50 people have become sickened in 16 states and nine have become ill in Canada after eating the cantaloupes. No deaths have been reported, although 14 people have been hospitalized, the FDA said.

The government also is seeking to detain all cantaloupes shipped to the United States by Agropecuaria Montelibano.

The FDA said it was taking this step while it continues to investigate the outbreak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states.

To reduce the risk of contracting salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes, the FDA recommends:

  • Purchasing cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, refrigerate or surround it with ice.
  • Washing hands with hot, soapy water before or after handling fresh cantaloupes.
  • Scrubbing whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating.
  • Cutting away and not eating bruised or damaged areas of the cantaloupe.
  • Discarding leftover cut cantaloupe if left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Symptoms of foodborne salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea as well as abdominal cramps. The 16 states which have reported illnesses are Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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