FDA warns of contamination in Mexican cantaloupe

Saturday, May 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers on Friday not to eat Viva brand cantaloupe imported from Mexico, saying the fruit has been associated with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning.

The agency also called on stores and restaurants to remove from stock any cantaloupe of that brand.

FDA said it is detaining all cantaloupe imported from two Mexican firms.

The agency said two deaths have been reported, along with numerous illnesses in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.

The illness is caused by salmonella poona, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people who are infected often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The cantaloupe was sold in stores and restaurants and possibly served in health care facilities, the FDA said.

The cantaloupe was imported by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Ariz., from the Mexican firms S.P.R. De R.I. Lugumbrera San Luis and S.P.R. De R.I. Los Arroyos, FDA reported.

Viva was the only brand associated with the outbreak.

The FDA urged consumers to purchase only fresh produce that is not bruised or damaged, keep it refrigerated and wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.

Fresh cantaloupe has a shelf life of 14 to 18 days.