Cantaloupe Salmonella RecallWe learned over the weekend that L&M Companies was recalling whole cantaloupes sold between May 10 and May 15 in Wal-Mart Supercenter stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and South Hill, Virginia, because a cantaloupe at a farm in Mexico where L&M sources cantaloupe had tested positive for Salmonella.  The recall was initiated as a precaution, and was explained by L&M vice president of production and grower development, Mike McGee, in a written statement:

“L&M Companies takes food safety seriously and we are committed to the shoppers who buy our products everyday. We are issuing this recall because we want to ensure that even the slightest risk to public health is minimized.”

Consumers who purchase cantaloupes and other melons should be aware that several foodborne illness outbreaks have been traced to melons in the past.  In 2002, residents of several states became ill after consuming Salmonella-contaminated cantaloupe.

FOOD SAFETY TIP:  Bacteria such as Salmonella present on the fruit’s surface can be transferred to the inside of the fruit as a person’s knife pushes through the skin’s surface and into the fruit.  Public health agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition have issued guidelines for preventing foodborne illness associated with cantaloupe and other hard-skinned fruits.  That includes washing the fruit and scrubbing cantaloupe rinds with a vegetable brush.