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Cantaloupe listeria outbreak deadliest in years

7:24 AM, Sep 29, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Health officials nationwide have urged people to use caution when purchasing or eating cantaloupe due to one of the deadliest outbreaks of food contamination in recent history.

72 cases of listeria poisoning have been responsible for 13 deaths in 18 states, and and those numbers are expected to rise in the coming days.

While the FDA is still looking for the cause of the outbreak, they were able to pinpoint its source to Jenson Farms in Holly, Colorado. Jenson Farms has since recalled its entire 2011 crop.

VIDEO: Cantaloupes grown in Colorado linked to listeria outbreak

The contaminated cantaloupes were shipped between July 29th and September 10th, and shipped to stores including major retailers such as Wal-mart, King Soopers, and Safeway.

California is among the numerous states to where the contaminated cantaloupes were shipped.  No death have been reported, but numerous cases of illness were reported in the state.

The listeria bacteria that causes the infection can incubate for up to 2 months. Health experts advised individuals to check labels on cantaloupes and throw them out if uncertain of the fruit's condition. 

If you think you may have had some of the bad fruit in your homes, experts advise you to bleach your countertops and any other areas that may have come into contact with the melon.

Listeria is a common bacteria that causes mild illness in healthy individuals but can be deadly to elderly persons or those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, and muscle aches, sometimes severe.


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