There have been no reported illnesses. According to the release, product was shipped to at least 18 states:
"The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors between June 23rd and July 27th, in the following states: FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA, VT and WV. The melons may have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states."
Unfortunately, this scenario is similar to others in that a positive test for Listeria causes an initial recall. After the regulatory agencies evaluate and test, the recall is expanded due to the fact that Listeria, a pathogen present in plant environments, was not under control, and thus was not limited to that lot initially recalled.
FDA News Release
Recall -- Firm Press Release
FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.
Burch Equipment LLC Expands Recall to Include Additional Cantaloupe Shipping Dates and to include Honeydew Melons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 10, 2012 - Burch Equipment LLC, North Carolina, is expanding its recall to include all of this growing season's cantaloupes and honeydew melons that may remain on the market because they may possibly be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no illnesses reported to date.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. The incubation period (the length of time between consuming a product and becoming ill) for Listeria monocytogenes can be 1 to 3 weeks, but may be in the range of 3 to 70 days.
The whole cantaloupes are identified by a red label reading Burch Farms referencing PLU # 4319. All cantaloupes involved in the recall were grown by Burch Farms, however some of the cantaloupes may have been identified with a "Cottle Strawberry, Inc." sticker referencing PLU #4319 (note: Cottle Strawberry, Inc. did not grow or process the cantaloupe involved in this recall). Cantaloupes from Burch Farms were shipped in both corrugated boxes (9 cantaloupe per case) and in bulk bins.
Honeydew melons involved in this recall expansion do not bear any identifying stickers and were packed in cartons labeled melons.
Consumers who may have purchased these honeydew melons should contact the store where they purchased their melons, for information about whether those melons are part of this recall.
The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors between June 23rd and July 27th, in the following states: FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA, VT and WV. The melons may have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states."
Burch Equipment LLC is requesting any consumer that may have one of these cantaloupes or honeydews to discard the product.
There have been no illnesses reported to date. FDA and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are working with Burch Equipment LLC following a random sample of a cantaloupe testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
This recall expansion is based on FDA's finding of Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon grown and packed by Burch..
Burch Farms lacked audits, traceability on recalled fruit
08/16/2012 3:48:34 PM
Listeria contamination has been confirmed at the Burch Farms melon packing facility in Faison, N.C., according to the Food and Drug Administration.
In an update posted on its website late Aug. 13, FDA officials said the listeria finding spurred Burch to expand its recall to include all cantaloupe and honeydew melons shipped this season. No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recalled melons.
“This recall expansion is based on the FDA’s finding of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) on a honeydew melon grown and packed by Burch Farms. The recall expansion is also a result of the agency’s finding of L. mono in the environment of the firm’s packing facility,” according to the notice.
Company spokeswoman Teresa Burch said it has not had its cantaloupe operation audited by a third party for food safety practices, and although the company has traceability programs for other items, there is none in place for its melons.
Burch Equipment LLC, doing business as Burch Farms, originally recalled about 5,200 cantaloupes July 28 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program found listeria on one melon at retail during a random sampling.
The grower expanded the recall to include 188,900 cantaloupes Aug. 3 and corrected the variety from athena to caribbean golds. That expansion came after the FDA revealed it had found “unsanitary conditions” at the Burch packing shed.
Owner Jimmy Burch Sr. said Aug. 14 that investigators had just left his farm that morning.
“I asked the guy who took the samples and he said he couldn’t tell me anything,” Burch said. “They just said ‘you’ll be getting results in a few days’ and left.”
Burch said he uses the sanitizer SaniDate in his packing facility’s water. According to the Burch Farms website, the operations are audited by PrimusLabs.
PrimusLabs in-house counsel Ryan Fothergill confirmed that the company has audited the leafy greens processing and field operations at Burch Farms but not the cantaloupe operation. Fothergill said Primus records show its staff was last at the Burch operation in March.
Burch said he planted only about 10 acres of honeydews for this season. The entire crop went to wholesalers. He said his farm has not had food safety issues in the past.
“We shipped 3,000 loads of produce last year with no problems,” Burch said.
According to Burch and the FDA, the recalled honeydews do not have any identifying stickers. They were packed in cartons labeled “melons.”
In its latest recall notice the company reminded consumers that the listeria incubation period “can be one to three weeks, but may be in the range of three to 70 days.”
Complete distribution details on the melons are not available, according to the FDA.
The Burch cantaloupes and honeydew melons were sold to distributors from June 23 to July 27, in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia, the Aug. 10 recall states.
“The melons may have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states,” according to the recall.