Listeria Outbreak Linked To Cantaloupes Infects 18 States, Including Florida

UPDATE: Cantaloupe Farmers Arrested in Listeria Outbreak That Killed 33

The listeria outbreak which had been traced to cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado has spread to eighteen states, including one reported ilness in Florida. 

According to the Center for Disease Control:
  • As of 11am EDT on September 26, 2011, a total of 72 persons infected with the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported to CDC from 18 states.  All illnesses started on or after July 31, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (15), Florida (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Kansas (5), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), New Mexico (10), North Dakota (1), Oklahoma (8), Texas (14), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1).
  • Thirteen deaths have been reported: 2 in Colorado, 1 in Kansas, 1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Nebraska, 4 in New Mexico, 1 in Oklahoma, and 2 in Texas.
  • Collaborative investigations by local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate the source of the outbreak is whole cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields in Granada, Colorado.
  • On September 14, 2011, FDA issued a press releaseicon_out-7724630 to announce that Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes after being linked to a multistate outbreak of listeriosis.
  • CDC recommends that persons at high risk for listeriosis, including older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women, do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
  • Other consumers who want to reduce their risk of Listeria infection should not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
  • Even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without becoming ill, dispose of the rest of the cantaloupe immediately. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and refrigerator temperatures.
  • Cantaloupes that are known to NOT have come from Jensen Farms are safe to eat.  If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe for purchase, they should ask the grocery store.  A cantaloupe purchased from an unknown source should be discarded: “when in doubt, throw it out.”