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Colorado Cantaloupe Responsible For Listeria Outbreak

So far four deaths have been linked to listeria after consuming cantaloupe shipped from a Colorado farm. Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall last week.

Cantaloupe

Photo: News21-usa (Flickr)

Listeria is rare in produce, but it can grow at room and refrigerated temperatures.

A multi-state listeria outbreak has sickened at least 35 people and killed four, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The listeria outbreak has been traced to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The FDA released a statement last week recalling Rocky Ford cantaloupe shipped between July 29 and September 10.

The death toll could rise to six as two more deaths are being investigated in New Mexico to see if they are related to the listeria outbreak. More deaths could result as listeria has a long gestation period — up to a month.

People from 10 states are reporting illnesses, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. The deaths have occurred in Colorado, Oklahoma and two in New Mexico.

Listeria is rare in produce and more likely to be found in deli meats and soft cheeses.

Healthy adults can likely avoid illness, but the elderly and ill are more likely to be infected — in the current outbreak, mostly elderly people have succumbed to the illness.

The CDC advises that the best way to avoid consumption of the contaminated cantaloupe is to throw it out.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Read More:

  • 4 dead in cantaloupe listeria outbreak (CBS News)
  • Has Cantaloupe-Linked Listeria Outbreak Killed Seven? (Food Safety News)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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  • Guest

    You left out pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience only a mild,
    flu-like illness. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to
    miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening
    infection of the newborn.

    “Healthy adults can likely avoid illness, but the elderly and ill are
    more likely to be infected — in the current outbreak, mostly elderly
    people have succumbed to the illness.”

  • Jocelyn

    Does listeria grow in the produce or on it? Meaning, if you wash the cantaloupe with soap and water, will that kill the bacteria?

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