When to go public? First salmonella-in-Del-Monte cantaloupe illnesses IDed in Albany in Feb. public not told

Alex Paul of the Albany Democrat-Herald reports the first confirmed victims of a February outbreak of Salmonella Panama that eventually affected 20 people in 10 states and was traced to cantaloupe that came from a single farm in Guatemala, was in Albany, Oregon.

“We found one person confirmed and two others presumed with a pretty rare form of salmonella,” said Jane Fleischbein of the Linn County Public Health Department.

Fleischbein said the public wasn’t notified because Costco immediately pulled the product from its shelves.

“It all depends on timing,” Fleischbein said. “Sometimes it takes a while to track down and by the time the source has been identified, the product has already been consumed or taken off the shelves.”

Fleischbein said her office gets news of at least one recall per week.

“If local public health departments sent a notice about every recall, we would be awfully busy,” Fleischbein said. “There are many recalls that go under the radar.”

The three in Albany were among six people statewide who became sick. The investigation concluded they had eaten cantaloupe served at a church supper.