Tainted cantaloupes linked to 13 deaths, public health officials say

September 28, 2011COLORADOThirteen people have now died from consuming bacteria-tainted cantaloupe in what has become the deadliest outbreak of a food-borne illness since 1998, according to records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak — blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes — was first reported September 12, when the CDC said 15 people in four states had been infected. The illnesses were traced to consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms’ fields in Granada, Colorado. As of Monday morning, the latest statistics available, it had grown to 18 states, 72 illnesses and 13 deaths, according to the CDC. In 1998, 21 people died from consuming tainted hot dogs, according to a CDC database. In the current outbreak, four people who ate contaminated cantaloupes died in New Mexico, two each in Colorado and Texas, and one each in Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Public health officials have also reported illnesses in those states as well as in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. On September 14, Jensen Farms voluntarily recalled Rocky Ford whole cantaloupes shipped between July 29 and September 10. The cantaloupes were distributed in 17 states — Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The cantaloupes bear a green-and-white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that says: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords. Unlabeled whole cantaloupe should be taken to the retailer for sourcing information, the Food and Drug Administration said.-CNN
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18 Responses to Tainted cantaloupes linked to 13 deaths, public health officials say

  1. Julie says:

    FYI – WASH IT! The knife picks up the germs and puts them on the food when you cut it – the germs are on the outside. FYI

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  2. Daisy says:

    When I read your emails, NOT the actual posting, the right side of the content page is missing and the toolbar at the bottom to move the copy over is not there. Thanks for your excellent posts!

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  3. chondram says:

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: I can’t read the news alerts anymore I receive from EP. The email when opened is all grayed out. Have contacted AOL about this and they say the problem is not on their side? Anyone else having probs?

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    • C Guffey says:

      Yes I am too. But I also cannot open pdf files either. There is a double virus that affects both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. You get it by updating Adobe, but it not really an update from Adobe. I just realized what was causing the problem today and don’t know the fix. My security software is usually good at catching this stuff, but I must have allowed an exception since I thought it was a legit update download. If anyone knows a fix I would love to find out. If I figure it out, I will post it.

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  4. OKI, Alvin! I wish people would realize that this deadly food contamination is coming from the use of human sewage combined with industrial chemical sludge that is being spread on crops for human consumption. It is not because some migrant worker didn’t wash their hands after using the toilet! In our town, in 1989, we fought the depy. of environmental conservation that gave a “BUD” beneficial use determination, that grants a pollutant a new permit when they find a special use for something considered waste . Our small group fought against an experimental 8 million gallon sewage storage lagoon and landspreading operation in our town. Together we wrote legislation that prevents the use of sewage spreading in our town. Unfortunately that is not the case around the country. This toxic soup is being spread on farmland across the country. They call it “biosolids”, “EnviroSoil”, etc. but it is pure poison loaded with human and animal pathogens, heavy metals, like cadmium, lead and mercury and endocrine disrupting chemicals that damage our reproductive organs. This is one of the best kept secrets in this country and has caused innumerable deaths and illness. I have a filing cabinet full of documentation on this issue! Please be careful where you buy your food! If you can at all afford organic, or grow a garden you are much safer. If you live near me, Nunda NY you are welcome to a garden plot on my land free of charge. No chemicals allowed though.

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  5. Jazz says:

    Whats with all the food getting tainted lately. happening a little too much for me.

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  6. David says:

    Before it’s all said and done, more people will likely die from Listeria due to the cantaloupes. The virus can hide in the body for awhile before it takes on worse flu-like symptoms, which can result in death.

    Also, the bacteria was on the outside of the cantaloupes, so people need to wash out their refrigerator if they had them in there, as the bacteria can stay, thrive and attach to other products.

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  7. TJ says:

    how does listeria get into cantelope?

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  8. dmiller says:

    Where is some common sense in all of this? Any reasonably intelligent person knows that if we have contamination of some sort on the external of a fruit or vegetable we wash it well, peeling it, or scald it in boiling water and always the option of cooking it… as far as I’m concerned it is a personal responsibility to stay healthy through proper food preparation… it is disgusting….the amount (tons) of food that is recalled/wasted due to bacterial contamination….. the incredible waste of animal life because idiots don’t cook their meat and wash their hands , utensils and work surfaces. I was learning all that at my mother’s knee when I was 3..!!!
    Is it just slightly possible that females have contributed to the state of our nutrition because they have been/are absent mothers who inadequately prepare food themselves ( assuming they know anything themselves) and rely on commercial establishments so that children do not even know the source of their food…. how about reinstating mandatory home economics ? For middle school youngsters as
    high-school is years too late……and past time to give self responsibility back. to working citizens and get Bureaucrats out of the social fabric…

    ..

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    • RainMan says:

      Totally agree, we had a gov.campaign here when food poisioning was a media headliner, they showed and urged us how and when to wash our hands? Really, a survey on ‘Where does milk come from’ showed a large percentage of school children said ‘a milk carton’…
      My mother used to get annoyed that I peeled to much skin off potatoe’s, good on her, she also survived WW2.

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    • dmiller,
      While I definetly agree with your concerns of hygiene, listeria gets in the food through water or manure contamination. The meet we eat may also contain listeria, animals may not show signs of the bateria, but humans will. Have you ever had a medium rare steak or rare steak. Sometimes eating food is a matter of preference of how it is cooked.
      I remember a day, when my grandfather used to consume raw eggs in a protein drink. I for one would not even think of doing this now. I do think most people do wash their food, it is reported the listeria is on the rind and when it is cut through it spreads to the rest of fruit. That being said, if I fertilize with contaminated fertilizer or water with contaminated water, and the food grows in this, how can one say it is only on the skin. The skin is porous therefore the contamination can be absorbed. There was a time when we grew our own food, purchased fresh meat from the butcher, now we rely on GMO foods, and other materials to expediate the growth process of foods.

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    • Debra says:

      dmiller – Wow, you are lucky you had a mother to teach you these things. As a clinical social worker, woman, and mother, I feel compelled and obligated to point out that not everyone was as lucky as you. Your post is full of judgment of others who perhaps did not fare as well in the parent area or were not lucky enuf to be bkessed with teachers that cared. Also, you go so far as to blame women for this. Really? Most mothers are busting their rear ends, going from early morning until latein the eve, to just keep their heads above water. While I don’t feel blame is the answer to any of this – or anything else for that matter – why would you choose to blame women for this? Life is not like it was 50 years ago, let alone 20 or 10 years ago. In today’s world, for the most part, we are all doing what we can to keep up with the plethora of demands required just to get thru the day in a world where time is speeding up resulting in everyone pulling their own share including men.
      And mothers that are “absent” are generally “absent” bc the children’s fathers are either not there – leaving the women and children to fend for themselves OR the fathers are there, busting their rear ends but not making enuf money that would allow the mothers to stay at home to be there to mother their children.

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  9. Rena Wert says:

    I am also having a problem open my emails from EP. When I open them its just a gray screen, also have aol.

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  10. I think you are right when saying it does come down to consumer responsibility and knowledge. The industry that MASS produces our vegetables and fruits are already over regulated and guess what.. as soon as the gov’t passes more legislation to shut them down.. there goes our food supply. What will it be next? Outlawing pesticides might help briefly but long term we will produce less food. I am not sure where this will end.. grow your own or purchase from a Farmer Market or whole food coop and get to know your vegetable grower.. besides it tastes better!

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  11. Amy P. says:

    I heard that Listeria can live latent in your gut for 2 months:(
    In less developed countries, people use a dilute bleach solution to soak their vegtables in. I wonder if that would be beneficial in halting Listeria? I always have washed my cantalope well with soapy water and a paper towel.
    Back in the late eighties, there was a salmonella outbreak traced to a local restaurant’s salad bar. It was unwashed cantaloupe that was the culprit. I have always washed cantaloupe since then.
    Kids should be taught food science, it could save their life.

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  12. luisport says:

    BreakingNews Breaking News
    CDC: Death toll from tainted cantaloupe rises to 15 – @denverpost http://bit.ly/qLYbfX
    há 6 minutos

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