Sunday, August 5, 2012

NC Company Recalls Cantaloupes Due to Listeria

Burch Equipment of North Carolina is recalling approximate 189,000 cantaloupes after a product tested positive for Listeria and a then follow-up inspection indicated sanitary issues at the packing facility. There have been no reported illnesses.  Product has been shipped to over 10 different states.

Interesting was that the tests were preformed by the USDA Microbiological Data Program, a program that was on the government chopping block just a few weeks ago. One may figure that this would help their future survival, and be a warning to other produce packers that a program fighting for survival may be working a bit harder to find contaminated product and nab few big headlines.

One would have figured that after the Jenson Cantaloupe Listeria issue, anyone packing cantaloupe would have paid close attention to the issues and then went to some great extremes to put in Listeria control measures in place. But clearly there are some who are not reading the paper and seeing the implications..implications not only for the company, but for the lareger industry. And really, this needs to extend to those packing any type of produce item that has the potential to support Listeria.

FDA 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 Corrects Cantaloupe Variety Subject to Recall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 3, 2012 - Burch Equipment LLC, North Carolina, is correcting the variety of cantaloupe involved in recalls initiated on July 28 and August 2, 2012. Previous announcements incorrectly identified the cantaloupes as being the Athena variety. The cantaloupes affected by the recall are the Caribbean Gold variety.

Athena cantaloupes are not subject to the recall.

Today’s announcement is not an expansion of the recall; no additional products are being recalled at this time.

The firm voluntarily recalled 580 cases of cantaloupes on July 28, and voluntarily recalled an additional 13,888 cases of cantaloupes (9 cantaloupes per case) and 581 bins of cantaloupes (110 cantaloupes per bin) on August 2, due to the potential for being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Melons affected by this recall total 188,902.

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, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The whole Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupes were shipped between July 15th and July 27th and distributed in FL, GA, IL, MD, ME, NC, NJ, NY, PA, SC and VA. 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. Cottle Farms is not involved in this recall. Cantaloupes from Burch Farms were shipped in both corrugated boxes (9 cantaloupe per case) and in bulk bins.

Burch Equipment LLC is requesting any consumer that may have one of these cantaloupes 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 Caribbean Gold variety cantaloupe testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The recall expansion was based on unsanitary conditions found at the cantaloupe packing shed during FDA’s ongoing inspection that may allow for contamination of cantaloupes with Listeria monocytogenes.

Questions can be directed to Burch Equipment LLC at 910-267-5781 Monday through Friday, (9:00am to 4:00pm) or email
FDA finds unsanitary conditions at Burch Farms packing shed
The Packer 08/02/2012 4:55:00 PM
Coral Beach

A recall of about 5,200 Athena cantaloupes in two states ballooned to more than 188,900 cantaloupes distributed in 10 states after inspectors found “unsanitary conditions” at Burch Equipment LLC’s cantaloupe packing facility.

The Faison, N.C., grower, which operates under the name Burch Farms, initially recalled 580 cases of cantaloupes July 28. A positive result for listeria from a random sampling by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program sparked the recall.

voluntary recall expanded Aug. 2 to include 13,888 cases and 581 bulk bins of the Athena melons. No illnesses had been reported, according to the Aug. 2 recall notice. The cases each hold nine melons and the bins each have 110 cantaloupes.

“The recall expansion is based on unsanitary conditions found at the cantaloupe packing shed during FDA’s ongoing inspection that may allow for contamination of cantaloupes with listeria monocytogenes,” the Aug. 2 notice states.

Although all of the recalled cantaloupes were grown at Burch Farms, some may carry stickers with the name Cottle Strawberry Inc. and a produce lookup code of 4319, according to the Food and Drug Administration notice. Cottle is not involved in the recall.

Some of the Burch Farms cantaloupes were packed in sweet potato boxes, according to a
public warning issued by FDA on July 30. The recall notice said the Burch cantaloupes each had oval-shaped red stickers with the words “Burch Farms” and Product Look-Up codes of 4319.

FDA officials did not respond to questions regarding the investigation or traceability of the cantaloupes. It is not known if the grower is still harvesting melons.

Repeated calls to the Burch Farms phone number listed on the recall notice as the consumer contact were answered by an unidentified woman who said the company had no comment.

initial recall notice stated the Burch melons had been shipped to retailers in New York and Maine. However, there were reports that some ShopRite retail stores in New Jersey had some of the cantaloupes.

Hannaford Supermarkets, Scarborough, Maine, issued its own recall notice for the Burch Farms melons July 28. The chain has 181 stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said Aug. 2 that he could not comment on the recall or what kind of containers the cantaloupes had been shipped in. He referred all questions to Burch Farms.

The expanded recall notice states the more than 188,900 cantaloupes were distributed in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The recalled fruit was shipped July 15-27.

One day before the recall was expanded, some cantaloupe growers were optimistic that the recall would not have much impact on sales, especially if no illnesses are connected to the melons.

“I don’t know how aware the general public and buyers elsewhere are of the situation,” said John Gilstrap, manager of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board in Dinuba. “I haven’t heard of anything in the way of a ripple effect yet.”

Steve Patricio, a cantaloupe grower who is also the chairman of the California advisory board and chairman of the Center for Produce Safety, said Aug. 1 the industry is watching the recall carefully, hoping that mainstream media won’t sensationalize the story.

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