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FDA officials issued a
Listeria warning about bacteria-tainted Rocky
Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado.
Thirteen people have died in what now appears to be the most fatal
US outbreak of a food-borne illness since 1998 according the FDA.
As of Monday, 9/26/11, 72 illnesses and 13 deaths have resulted from
people eating infected cantaloupe. The bacteria, Listeria, can take up
to three weeks or longer to make a person sick.
Jensen Farms Listeria outbreak appears to be isolated in these States:
Illinois, Kansas, Missouri,
Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee,
Utah, and Wyoming. (The Jensen recall
contained 17 States. The
CNN report also contained California, Michigan and Florida, so it is likely
at at least one of those States reported one or more cases.)
outbreak, blamed on Listeria monocytogenes, was first reported on Sept.
12. The cantaloupes were traced to Holly Colorado-based Jensen Farms'
fields in Granada, Colorado. Jensen issued a statement on Sept. 14 stating
they had voluntarily recalled Rocky Ford whole cantaloupes "...because
they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria...L.monocytogenes
is a bacterium that can contaminate foods and cause a mild noninvasive
illness (called listeria gastroenteritis or a severe, sometimes life-threatening
illness (called invasive Listeriosis)." Those most likely to become
infected are the elderly and/or those with compromised immune systems.
Also at risk are fetuses and neonates who become infected when the mother
is exposed to the bacterium during pregnancy.