FDA Detectives Use Stomacher® 400 Circulator for Sample Preparation in Cantaloupe Listeriosis Scare

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Worthing, UK – 29th Month 2012 – Seward, the manufacturer and developer of the patented Stomacher® Paddle Blender range, highlights the use of the Stomacher® 400 Circulator in the elimination of soil and fruit as possible sources in a recent fatal cantaloupe melon Listeriosis scare. At the height of the scare the outbreak detectives of the FDA were mystified after extensive testing of soil and fruit revealed a total absence of Listeria Monocytogenes. The method applied was the FDA standard method1. This requires the preparation of samples using the Stomacher® 400 Circulator laboratory paddle blender supplied by Seward Limited.

Last year’s Listeriosis scare in the USA, which caused 25 lives to be lost and severe illness for several hundred people, was finally traced to cantaloupe melons2. Initially thought to be due to the use of biomass or sewage as fertiliser by melon growers, such a discovery would have been catastrophic for these growers. However, extensive testing by the FDA using the Stomacher® 400 Circulator revealed that this was not the case. Ultimately, the problem was traced to poor hygiene and plant construction at a single packing plant.

The Stomacher® 400 Circulator is extensively used in the food industry for preparing samples for Listeria testing. This organism is widely present in the environment and is slow to cause symptoms in patients. With huge health, as well as commercial considerations, outbreaks need to be traced quickly. The quality of the sample and reliability of the data is key to the performance of all rapid testing methods. It is for this reason that the Stomacher 400 Circulator is the most referenced laboratory blender in comparative studies between rapid microbiological detection methods and traditional reference techniques.

For further information on Seward’s Stomacher® range and other sample preparation products, please visit: www.seward.co.uk.


1) A field study of the microbiological quality of fresh produce. http://www.gaps.cornell.edu/pubs/Texas_Juan_Anciso.pdf

2) 25 Dead From Melons: FDA Points to Packing Facility, http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/listeria-melon-packing/

Seward contact details:

Europe and ROW: +44 (0) 1903 823077; info@seward.co.uk
US & Canada: +1 631 750 5660; info@sewardusa.com
Asia, Pacific and Middle East: +65 67447811; info@sewardinternational.com