According to an Associated Press news brief, an Indianapolis-based food company has issued a recall for pre-cut melon products that are being sold in 16 states after the fruit was linked to a salmonella outbreak.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on April 12 that the recall includes cut cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon and fruit medley products containing melon packaged by Caito Foods LLC. To make matters more confusing, the pre-packaged fruit is sold under various brands or labels at some of the largest food retailers in the United States – Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods.
The pre-packaged fruit was sent to the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Officials from the FDA have advised consumers to check the packaging of any cut-up fruit that they may have at their homes. The FDA urges that if the fruit was packaged or distributed by Caito Foods (no matter how else it might be branded) not to eat it. The regulatory agency also advised retailers to remove all remaining packages from the stores.
According to authorities, to date 93 people have been sickened in nine states, 23 of whom were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported as of this writing.
FreightWaves has written repeatedly about the potential of blockchain to help trace food-borne illnesses.
On April 11 staff writer Vishnu Rajamanickam wrote an article detailing how Albertsons Companies, the second-largest grocer in the U.S., had joined the IBM Food Trust network.
The network runs on a blockchain framework, and is an attempt to increase transparency and visibility into its supply chain. The members’ common interest is to trace food production from farm to the storefronts.
On September 25, 2018, staff writer Maria Baker wrote about Walmart’s (NASDAQ: WMT) announcement to implement blockchain technology in its leafy green supply chain in 2019. Baker also wrote an article on August 2, 2018, in which FreightWaves reported the August 1 announcement that Nestlé (NASDAQ: NSRGF) was partnering with Dole Food Co., Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger Co. (NASDAQ: KR), McCormick (NASDAQ: MKC), McLane Co., Tyson Foods (NASDAQ: TSN) and Unilever (NASDAQ: UL) to join the Food Trust.
Providing standards for use in transportation, freight and the supply chain is the mission of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). One of BiTA’s members is OriginTrail, a Slovenia-based company that has a particular expertise in the design of blockchain protocols for the food supply chain. These protocols promise unprecedented visibility into chain of custody as well as optimized recalls.
It may be impossible to stop outbreaks of food-borne illness. However, using blockchain, regulators, food manufacturers/process, retailers and the public may be able to significantly decrease the harm such outbreaks cause.