There is growing concern among farmers in the Southwest regarding problems with canteloupes imported from Mexico.
Two people have died and other have become sick from salmonella in recent months after eating canteloupe imported from across the border, and this is not a new problem.
We join farmers in calling for officials on this side of the border to consider a quarantine on Mexico-grown canteloupes.
First, there is the concern that more people could be made sick from Mexican canteloupes, and that should be an overriding issue in considering such a quarantine. Certainly if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thought enough to issue a food safety warning in May, a quarantine may be warranted.
There is a second reason for such a quarantine — one grounded in economics. The problem is if consumers swear off canteloupes because of health concerns, many likely will swear off all canteloupes, not just Mexican canteloupes. That could devastate the canteloupe crop here, which is a big one and was doing well until the Mexican salmonella scare last year. After the scare prices for canteloupes bottomed out.