FDA Inspection: Indiana Melon Farm Is Unsanitary

The FDA found unclean conditions at a southern Indiana farm linked to an outbreak of salmonella that killed three people in Kentucky and left hundreds sick.

Cantaloupe

Photo: Christian Wilcox (Flickr)

Cantaloupe at Chamberlain Farms were contaminated by salmonellae earlier this year.

An inspector with the Food and Drug Administration found unclean conditions at a southern Indiana farm linked to an outbreak of salmonella that killed three people in Kentucky and left hundreds sick.

The inspector‘s report posted on the FDA‘s website shows that two strains of salmonella were found among cantaloupes at Chamberlain Farms in Owensville. The inspector visited the farm in mid-August, and the farm later recalled cantaloupes that were one of the sources of a salmonella outbreak that caused 270 people in 26 states to become ill, 101 of which were taken to hospitals.

The report says rust and corrosion were discovered on several pieces of equipment in the processing line at the farm as well as standing water that appeared to have algae growing on it in the floor of the packing shed.

The inspector wrote that the farm‘s trash receptacle located near the processing line was overflowing with trash and that portions of the water lines used in the processing area were rusting. The report blamed the conditions on “poor sanitary practices.”

Messages left with Chamberlain Farms have not been returned. The owner of the 100-acre farm, Tim Chamberlain, said at the time of the recall that he did not know what could have caused the contamination. There is no previous record of health problems at the farm, which opened in 1982.

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