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More Trouble With Cantaloupe: Death, Recalls + Listeria

A Colorado produce company issued a voluntary cantaloupe recall after a 13th death was linked to the melons tainted by bacteria. Some cases of Listeriosis illnesses have been reported in California, but no deaths.

Older adults, pregnant women, newborn children and adults with weak immune systems are most prone to be hit harder by Listeriosis. The bacteria that carries the disease is more lethal than E. coli. Officials linked the current outbreak to Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado. Tainted cantaloupes were distributed nationally between July 29 and September 10, with illnesses first reported on September 12.

Stickers on the cantaloupes read "Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe", "Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords", "Jensenfarms.com", and some may not have a sticker at all.

The last time the nation faced a Listeria outbreak was in 1998 when 21 deaths were linked to hot dogs and deli meat. In 1985, 52 people died from Listeria in cheese. The bacteria grows at room temperature and also chilly refrigerator temperatures. Victims of this outbreak are, on average, around 78 years old.

The CDC advises anyone with a potentially tainted cantaloupe to throw it away and clean anything the melon touched. Three more deaths are under investigation with possible links to listeria.


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