A leading Honduran melon and watermelon exporter has called for a national emergency meeting among the country's producers after salmonella was reportedly detected in a shipment to the US.

Mauro Suazo, president of melon and watermelon grower Suazo Agro International, has urged Honduran firms to come together after major exporter Agropecuaria Montelibano was accused by the USDA of 'appearing to be associated' with a salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe melons in the US and Canada. In the wake of the disputed findings, Mr Suazo, who is also president of the Honduran Association of Melon Producers and Exporters has called on exporters to meet in order to 'close lines in defence of Agrolibano'.

In a public statement in response to the USDA alert, Agropecuaria Montelibano claimed the US body had incriminated the company based on two 'unreliable' cases and without a positive sample linked to one of the grower’s melons. It said the consequences of the 'precipitous' action could mean bankruptcy for the firm and the loss of up to 5,000 jobs.