Cantaloupe Listeria Deaths Continue to RiseElizabeth Stark
Cantaloupes contaminated with Listeria, grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, CO, have prompted a widespread cantaloupe recall, and led to the deaths of 13 people nationwide. This is the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness to affect the US in over a decade. Because someone exposed to Listeria may take up to 2 months to fall ill, and because testing in deaths suspected to be Listeria-related can be lengthy, public health officials fear that the death toll may continue to rise.
The widespread cantaloupe recall affects 17 states. From the CDC website, “The whole cantaloupes in question were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10th 2011, and distributed to the following states: IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA. The whole cantaloupes have a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, please contact your retail store for sourcing information. Jensen Farms is requesting any consumer that many have one of these cantaloupes to please destroy the products.”
Those affected by the outbreak have largely been over 60 years old, though pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and the very young are also susceptible groups. Symptoms of Listeria include fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea, though, if the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, dizziness, and convulsions. The CDC asks that anyone with questions regarding the outbreak contact Jensen Farms directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 1-800-267-4561.
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