FDA Cites Dirty Equipment In Cantaloupe Outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration says the deadly listeria outbreak in cantaloupe was probably caused by pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean packing equipment at a Colorado farm.

The agency said Wednesday that contamination at the packing facility at Jensen Farms is likely to blame for the outbreak that killed 25 people in a dozen states. Investigators found positive listeria samples on equipment and fruit there.

The FDA said Jensen Farms had recently purchased used equipment that was corroded and hard to clean. The agency said the way the cantaloupes were cooled after coming off the fields may have also contributed to listeria growth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak sickened 123 people.


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  • by Party of Clowns on Oct 19, 2011 at 02:49 PM
    I work in the food ingredient industry. During the Bush years, he cut back the number of FDA and USDA inspectors to levels the industry had not seen in years. Then we got little things such as Henaprin and Peanut Corporation of America. People DIED. Reason was that there weren’t enough inspectors. Republicans are calling for shut down of a new group within the FDA that is the ONLY group testing for the same e. coli bacteria outbreaks that have been happening in Europe. All to the glee of the tea partiers. Unbelievable.
  • by Wondering on Oct 19, 2011 at 01:58 PM
    Probably and likely still does not say for sure. Would this not wash off when the people washed the skin of the cantaloups before they cut into them? Or were the machines so bad they were puncturing the fruit causing it to get inside?
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 19, 2011 at 03:42 PM in reply to Wondering
      Think about that when you buy 'pre-cut' packages of fruits or veggies, or even bagged lettuces. Packing houses, that take in and package large amounts of those items, don't always have their sanitary ratings up to par; that's the problem. People who grow produce/poultry/cattle should think about their distributors. It's not always the producers, but often times, the distributors who are at fault.
  • by 250 Location: Jax on Oct 19, 2011 at 01:58 PM
    Excuse me. If my memory is correct the FDA is a relative young creation of the Feds that was initially thought of to "inspect" processing plants and farm parework ensuring correct handling of pesticides etc. Could this be a case of the so called government workers not caring but just worried about that salery and during inspections turned a "blind eye" or even worse maybe got a slight "kick back" from petty cash? Hmmmm we paranoid ones are interested.
  • by peggy Location: bath on Oct 19, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    "PROBABLY" can be a mighty big word. Probably because it was GMO cantelopes.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Oct 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM
    Good that the cause has been discovered. It was not the fruit; it was the 'handling' of the fruit. Thanks for the update WITN.
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