25 Now Dead In Listeria Outbreak In Cantaloupe

Twenty-five deaths in 12 states are now linked to listeria in cantaloupe, the deadliest known outbreak of foodborne illness in the U.S. in more than 25 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that 123 people have been sickened, including those who died.

The tainted Colorado cantaloupes should be off store shelves by now. But the number of illnesses may continue to grow, as the symptoms of listeria can take up to two months to appear.

The CDC on Tuesday confirmed a sixth death in Colorado and a second in New York. Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming have also reported deaths.

Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., recalled the cantaloupes last month.


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An outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe is now linked to 23 deaths in the U.S., making it the deadliest known outbreak of food-borne illness in more than 25 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 116 people have been sickened in the outbreak, including those who died. The number of deaths has now surpassed a 1998 outbreak of listeria in processed meats that was linked to 21 deaths. A 1985 listeria outbreak in Mexican-style soft cheeses killed 52 people.

The CDC confirmed two more deaths in Louisiana that the state had said it was investigating last week. Other deaths were reported in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.

Colorado's Jensen Farms recalled the tainted cantaloupe last month.


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  • by Jesse_EngAmer Location: New York on Oct 20, 2011 at 10:33 AM
    The FDA are masters of the blame game. The FDA are correct when they say they cannot regulate everything. Inspecting every food facility, foreign and domestic simply isn't possible. Safe practices on the behalf of the farm are a must (although there are considerable steps to be made in the area of preventative measures, here is a perfect example to make your skin crawl http://eng.am/qbfYkY). However, the FDA have the unique ability to respond to a crisis or outbreak. That is their duty, their role in all this and that is where the FDA floundered as they have in the past. When the first person fell ill, the FDA did not order recalls. They waited. When more people grew ill, they suggested recalls. And finally, 48 days after the first person fell ill, the recalls were ordered. Americans shouldn't pay taxes that funds the FDA's inaction.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2011 at 02:14 AM
    Wow. Two months to appear? Hope I didn't eat anything that'll surprise me two months later...
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2011 at 07:01 AM in reply to
      Listeria doesn't incubate for two months. Nothing of this nature does.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Oct 13, 2011 at 06:29 AM
    The grower is Jensen Farms of Granada, Colorado. He grew them, but they were shipped, resold, and went far a wide. Some buyers even resold them again, so no one really knows where the Listeria occurred, yet. I commonly scrub the melon rind before I cut it, which would drag anything through the fruit; do the same with water melons, lemons, oranges, ect. Thankfully, I haven't bought one lately.
  • by Wondering on Oct 13, 2011 at 05:10 AM
    How did the listeria get inside the cantaloupes? Was it injected at some point in transit? Is this a new terrorist plot to destroy the food supply?
    • reply
      by MB on Oct 13, 2011 at 06:55 AM in reply to Wondering
      Hello Wondering, The Listeria was not on the inside area of the Cantaloupe; it was on the outside area. It was not washed before cutting and it only take the person handling it to transfer it to the inside area once it is being cut and sliced up. Listeria comes from contaminated manure used as fertilizer and them it gets transferred to the raw uncooked foods by mostly poor food handling.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 13, 2011 at 08:37 AM in reply to MB
        Even back in the 50's we washed the oustide of all fruits and veggies before cutting. We even washed the the tops of cans before opening them.
        • reply
          by MB on Oct 13, 2011 at 03:47 PM in reply to
          I hear ya Anonymous, I wash everything.
        • reply
          by Education on Oct 19, 2011 at 05:15 AM in reply to
          Exactly, but we had parents who taught us that, and home-ec in schools to reinforce it. Apparently it's not a topic covered in video games or music videos today.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2011 at 06:59 AM in reply to MB
        Even if washed, cantaloupe is not a trustworthy food because of it's porous surface. It also commonly carries mold on the surface and is inadvisable for someone with a serious allergy to even consume... as slicing into it will carry whatever is on the outside in. It doesn't matter if you scrub the thing, it will hold onto some things because of the texture. I don't particularly care for cantaloupe so I don't eat it anyway. I think I'm better off.
  • by Donald Location: Washington on Oct 13, 2011 at 04:55 AM
    WHY would WITN even porint such a story WITHOUT ANY FACTS? Where did the tainted food come from? why was it tainted? how can we be safe? Stop being what you are and REPORT THE NEWS!
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM in reply to Donald
      I believe this is an update to previous reports. The death toll is higher now.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 19, 2011 at 06:57 AM in reply to Donald
      Where have you been?
  • by MB Location: Martin County on Oct 13, 2011 at 04:22 AM
    What is going on in this World; when trying to eat healthy kills you! Humans are often exposed to listeria by consuming: Raw vegetables that have been contaminated from the soil or from contaminated manure used as fertilizer; Infected animal meat, un-pasteurized milk or foods made with un-pasteurized milk, certain processed foods such as soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli meats that have been contaminated after the processing. Then the discovery that low doses of antibiotics make chickens grow faster was made in 1950. Since then, the practice of mixing antibiotics in feed has become quite common, scientists estimate that 70% of all antibiotics consumed are used for LIVESTOCK; people! Food will make you sick! When I make Chicken Salad I always offer some chicken to my cats and many times they pull away from it as if it is bad and they will not eat it; I also had two Parrots who were over 30 years old, now passed away, but they would not eat certain brands of corn or other mixed frozen vegetables that I use to defrost for them to eat; this might sound crazy but we better start watching our pets because they will tell you something is wrong with the food.
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 13, 2011 at 06:31 AM in reply to MB
      I have to agree, even though some might think that's an unusual practice. My cat won't eat hamburger, hotdogs, sausage, or frozen fish, but WILL eat venison, baked chicken or steak that does not have seasonings on it.
      • reply
        by MB on Oct 13, 2011 at 03:53 PM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
        Smart Kitty :-)
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