Del Monte Fresh Produce has withdrawn its threat to file a lawsuit against William Keene, Oregon’s senior epidemiologist, and Oregon Public Health for their actions during the salmonella outbreak in cantaloupe last year.
In early 2011, Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled close to 60,000 cantaloupes imported from Guatemala. The FDA posted the recall on its website saying the cantaloupe could be contaminated with the strain of salmonella involved in the outbreak. By mid-year, the FDA imposed an import alert, stopping the sale of the melons until they were determined to be safe.
Del Monte Fresh Produce filed a lawsuit against the FDA, and later filed an ethics complaint against Keene, and a tort claim against Oregon Public Health and Keene. The complaints said that Keene’s investigation was shoddy, that he named Del Monte Fresh Produce without ever finding salmonella in its cantaloupes, and pushed the FDA to issue the alert.
In the letter sent to the state, Del Monte Fresh Produce said the withdraw was a “show of good faith” in discussions with Oregon Public Health regarding food safety. Del Monte Fresh Produce has requested a meeting with the state and state epidemiologists.