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Eight Dead After Listeria Outbreak Linked Cantaloupes

A person has died in Maryland (MD) after eating tainted cantaloupe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. This is the eighth death linked to the melons traced to a Colorado (CO) farm. Fifty-five other people in 14 states, including Virginia (VA), have been confirmed as sickened. The CDC says the death toll could continue to rise, should more foods come in contact with the listeria. As of now, 300,000 cases of cantaloupes have been recalled.

The company responsible, Jensen Farms, say it's not sure how the outbreak started and has hired an independent food safety expert to determine the cause. Because listeria has a an incubation period of up to a month, listeria bacteria can grow at room temperature and refrigerator temperatures. The Food and Drug Administration recommends throwing out any potentially tainted cantaloupes.

Listeria outbreaks typically happen several times per year, but are more often linked to deli meats and cheeses. Most healthy adults can consume listeria with no negative effects, but elderly people and pregnant women are especially likely to become ill from it. The median age of those sickened in this outbreak is 78.

Listeria symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and other gastrointestinal problems.

If you have purchased any cantaloupe in the past few weeks, check the labels. The recalled cantaloupe may be labeled “Colorado Grown,” “Distributed by Frontera Produce,” “Jensenfarms.com,” or “Sweet Rocky Fords.” Be especially careful of produce consumption during this recall, because not all of the listeria-tainted cantaloupes are labeled.


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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