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Monday, August 20th, 2012
Cantaloupe melons grown in southwestern Indiana are being blamed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a salmonella poisoning outbreak that has touched lives in 20 states. This news comes just weeks after the Food & Drug Administration found listeria bacteria in cantaloupes and honeydews grown in North Carolina.
NBC News reports on the current salmonella outbreak:
At least 31 people have been hospitalized in connection with infections caused by salmonella Typhimurium tied to contaminated melons, the Centers for Disease Control reported late Friday. Illnesses have been reported from July 7 to Aug. 4, although those that occurred after July 26 may not be included yet.
Investigators said cantaloupes grown in the southwestern Indiana region were the likely source of the outbreak. Kentucky laboratory officials isolated the outbreak strain from two melons collected at a retail location in that state. The deaths were reported in Kentucky.
Officials are continuing to investigate whether other types of melons may also be linked to the outbreak, the CDC said. Officials with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration did not identify an Indiana farm where the suspect cantaloupes were grown, the distributors who handled them or the stores where the melons were sold. However, they said the farm in question has agreed to suspend sales for the rest of the growing season.
Image: Cantaloupe melon, via Shutterstock
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Monday, August 6th, 2012
Listeria, the food-borne bacteria that is of particular danger to pregnant women, is rearing its head again in a recall of cantaloupes grown in North Carolina and sold in 10 states, NBC News is reporting. Last summer and fall, a similar cantaloupe-related outbreak claimed 30 lives, sickened 146, and caused at least one miscarriage.
Burch Equipment LLC of Faison, N.C., is pulling 188,902 melons from store shelves in 10 states because of possible contamination that can cause illness and death, particularly in the very young, the very old, pregnant women and those with health problems….
The new recall of 13,888 cases of whole Athena variety cantaloupes follows a recall last week of 580 cases of the summer fruit.
Federal Food and Drug Administration officials and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture are conducting an ongoing inspection at Burch Farms. The FDA warned this week that consumers should not eat the summer melons, which carry a red Burch Farms label and the code PLU #4319.
The melons were shipped between July 15 and July 17 and distributed to retail stores in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
No illnesses have yet been connected with Burch melons.
Image: Cantaloupe, via Shutterstock
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Friday, December 9th, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its final data on the outbreak of the bacteria listeria that was spread through tainted cantaloupes in the late summer and early fall. According to the CDC’s “Final Update,” published yesterday, a total of 30 people died from the infection, and 146 were sickened. The outbreak affected people from 28 states.
Though the CDC has declared this outbreak to be over, the agency warns people that listeria is an ongoing health threat, of particular concern to pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. Visit the CDC’s listeria information page for more on how the bacteria is spread, and what symptoms to look for.
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Friday, October 21st, 2011
The outbreak of the infection caused by the bacteria listeria is not yet over, health officials announced this week, but its spread is slowing significantly.
The outbreak, which was traced to tainted cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farm in Granada, Colorado, began in August, and peaked in September, an official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.com. As of Wednesday, the illness had been linked to 25 deaths, with infections reported in 26 states.
The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Jensen Farms Wednesday, citing unsanitary conditions and “widespread contamination” at the farm that contributed to the outbreak. From CNN:
The agency cited several likely causes of the spread of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria at Jensen Farms.
The likely causes included packing equipment that “was not easily cleaned and sanitized” and the use of washing and drying equipment for cantaloupe packing as well as other raw agricultural commodities.
In addition, the agency said in a statement, the facility lacked a “pre-cooling step” to remove field heat from the cantaloupes before cold storage, possibly leading to condensation in the cooling process that promoted growth of the listeria bacteria.
Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to listeria infection, and at least one miscarriage has been linked to the current outbreak. Consumers are urged to throw out any cantaloupe–even if it has been well refrigerated–that could possibly have been grown at Jensen Farm.
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Thursday, September 29th, 2011
Federal officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that certain Colorado-grown cantaloupe tainted with a strain of the bacteria listeria has claimed 13 lives in an outbreak that now includes 18 states and 72 illnesses, including 2 pregnant women.
In mid-September, the listeria outbreak was linked to cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farm in Granada, Colorado. The farm issued an immediate recall of its melons, and CDC officials now say that the tainted melon has nearly reached the end of its shelf life.
However, people who ate tainted cantaloupe may yet develop symptoms of listeria, such as fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal distress. The bacteria can survive refrigeration, unlike some other food-borne pathogens, so the CDC urges consumers to hold off on consuming cantaloupe unless they can confirm the melons were not grown at Jensen Farm.
Pregnant women, people over 60, and those with compromised immune systems are at particular risk of serious illness or death if they contract listeriosis. Pregnant women who contract the disease are at risk for convulsions, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
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