Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

March 26, 2008 19:12 ET

Update-Health Hazard Alert-Cantaloupes From Agropecuaria Montelibano May Be Contaminated With Salmonella Bacteria

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 26, 2008) - Audio clips available at

The public warning issued on March 22, 2008 has been expanded to include additional information on product distribution. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because these cantaloupes appear to be associated with a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the United States and Canada.

The affected cantaloupes are known to have been distributed across Canada by various retail stores.

Consumers who have recently purchased whole cantaloupe or in-store products containing pieces of fresh cantaloupe are advised to check with their place of purchase to determine if the fruit came from this specific grower and packer.

To date US and Canadian authorities have received reports of nine illnesses in Canada in five provinces and 50 illnesses in 16 states in the US. In Canada, illnesses have been reported in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick between January 19, 2008 and February 22, 2008.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections. In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

The affected distributors and retailers are voluntarily removing the affected cantaloupes from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

The CFIA is issuing an import alert to prevent any affected product from reentering the marketplace.

The CFIA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella from cantaloupes:

Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged.

When you purchase cut fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, be sure that they are properly refrigerated.

After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly.

Before and after handling cantaloupe wash your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, with hot water and soap.

Before cutting fresh cantaloupe, thoroughly wash and brush the whole cantaloupe with running water using a clean produce brush.

Do not leave cut cantaloupe at room temperature for longer than two hours.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on Salmonella and food safety facts for cantaloupes, visit the Food Facts web page at :

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Food Recall and Emergency Response
    Garfield Balsom (English)
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Food Recall and Emergency Response
    Linda LeBlanc (French)