The salmonella outbreak associated with Indiana-grown cantaloupes is sparking a huge debate this week as health-conscious consumers pressure the feds to release the name of the source company.
The outbreak, responsible for 2 deaths and over 141 illnesses, began earlier this month and continues to be a source of concern for consumers. It has been reported that one Indiana farm has stopped all distribution of their cantaloupes and will refrain from selling or distributing cantaloupes for the remainder of the growing season. The controversy, however, lies in the fact that the company has not yet been identified, leaving consumers unsure of which products are safe in grocery stores.
Barbara Kowalcyk, CEO of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention claims that health officials are not releasing the name of the farm because it’s too early in the investigation and they don’t want to falsely report the source of the outbreak. Barbara and her team believe it is critical to get the information to consumers “in a timely manner.”
She says, “When you have people who are getting sick and hospitalized and even dying, in my opinion as a consumer advocate, that takes precedence. You need to give people the information they need to make informed decisions for their families.”
FDA spokesperson Shelly L. Burgess, disagrees, insisting it’s not beneficial to the public or the company in question if they falsely identify the source.
“We want to be sure,” she said. “We don’t want to falsely or prematurely name someone.”
At this point, the farm in question is only a “suspected” source of the outbreak but Indiana State Health Officials said that the results of sample tests taken are expected early next week.
Amy Reel, a spokesperson for the Indiana State Department of Health said officials are evaluating several possible sources of contamination “including a number of farms, retailers and distributors.”
Do you think the FDA should disclose any/all of the suspected companies – or do you think they should wait to name any companies until they know for sure that they are the source of the outbreak?