Cantaloupe Recall Could Affect Kentucky Farmers

Cantaloupe (WTVQ ABC 36 News)
Cantaloupe (WTVQ ABC 36 News)
Reported by: Amanda Stevenson
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Updated: 8/21/2012 10:01 am
Consumers lately might be afraid of buying a certain melon.

An unidentified seller recalled cantaloupe Friday after cases of salmonella were linked to the fruit.

It was reported that every contaminated cantaloupe came from southwest Indiana.

So should consumers in the bluegrass be wary?

Dr. Meek of Central Baptist Hospital says salmonella is very contagious.

"And it just takes a small amount of the bacteria to cause an illness," he said.

However, said the doctor, it's rare and very treatable.

The Kentucky Department of Health said 50 Kentuckians became ill after eating infected cantaloupe, and two more died in the salmonella outbreak.

Since then, stores like Walmart have stopped selling the fruit altogether.

Professor Leigh Maynard of the Department of Agricultural Economics says, "There may be a period of a few weeks during which consumers are afraid to purchase cantaloupe."

UK's College of Agriculture says 800 acres of Kentucky farms grow the melon, and farmers typically get $1000 per acre in sales.

So will this affect them? Not a lot, said Maynard.

"Farmers markets or producers here in Kentucky or neighboring states probably will not see a very large reduction in their sales as a result of this for very long," he said.

Professor Maynard suggests finding out where the cantaloupe you're buying is from--if it's from Kentucky, it's probably safe.

Of course, consumers should always rinse their produce--including the melons--thoroughly. Washing hands and any utensils used while cutting or washing the fruit will significantly decrease chances of illness.
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