Science
3:15 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Cantaloupes suspected in salmonella outbreak

Illinois health officials are urging anyone with cantaloupes to inspect them following an outbreak of 17 cases identified in the state in 11 counties. Eight of the people are hospitalized.

Tainted cantaloupe from southwestern Indiana is the suspected source of the outbreak that has so far affected more than 140 people from 20 states. Symptoms of the illness include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Cases go back as far as July 7.

“Illinois consumers should check for and ask about the origin of recently purchased cantaloupe, and discard any cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Anyone who becomes ill after eating cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana should seek medical attention immediately.”

He said if there is no sticker, the cantaloupe should be discarded as a safety precaution.
"Usually there will be sticker on the fruit and it will tell you where it was grown,” said Sabrina Miller, with IDPH. “If your sticker says southwestern Indiana, you're going to want to discard it immediately.

“However, if it doesn't and it indicates that the cantaloupe is grown in another area of the United States, it is absolutely safe to eat."
She says an investigation into the salmonella outbreak is on-going. Authorities believe the outbreak stems from one southwestern Indiana farm. Two people have died from the illness in Kentucky.