According to the Associated Press, a U.S. federal inspector found two strains of Salmonella and unclean conditions at an Indiana cantaloupe farm’s fruit-packing plant during inspections prompted by a deadly outbreak linked to the farm’s melons.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) report on the mid-August inspections at Chamberlain Farm Produce Inc. shows an inspector found improperly cleaned and apparently rusted and corroded equipment. The inspector also found what appeared to be algae growing in standing water beneath conveyer belts at the Owensville, Ind., plant, the report said.
Two strains of Salmonella were found on cantaloupes in the farm’s fields and on surfaces throughout the packing building located about 20 miles north of Evansville in southwestern Indiana, according to the report. One Salmonella strain was found on cantaloupes that had been processed in the building and boxed, according to the inspector.
On Aug. 22, about a week after the FDA inspections, Chamberlain Farm Produce announced it had voluntarily recalled all of its cantaloupes due to concerns that some might be tainted with Salmonella. Six days later, the FDA disclosed that genetic testing on Salmonella collected at the farm matched the “DNA fingerprint” of the Salmonella strain responsible for this summer’s outbreak, making it a source for at least some of the bacteria.
The outbreak sickened at least 270 people in 26 states and killed three people in Kentucky, according to the FDA.