A quick post on a serious food warning: Don’t eat the cantaloupe! Federal health officials are warning that cantaloupes produced at Jensen Farms in Colorado is being linked to 72 illnesses–including up to 16 deaths–in 18 states due to a Listeria outbreak. This is the deadliest food outbreak in the United States in more than a decade.
Although CDC experts report that the contaminated cantaloupe is solely from Jansen farms, making all others okay to eat, I personally wouldn’t eat any. My feeling is that unless you can confirm the source of the cantaloupe, I wouldn’t take any chances. Sure the CDC says that any melons produced outside of Jensen Farms is safe for consumption, but does your cantaloupe have that printed on the side. Are you really going to call the grocery store and ask if their cantaloupes are from Jensen Farms? Then throw it out. Lose the $1.50, save your life, or at the very least, save your peace of mind.
The recalled cantaloupes may be labeled “Colorado Grown,” ”Distributed by Frontera Produce,” ”Jensenfarms.com” or “Sweet Rocky Fords.” Not all of the recalled cantaloupes are labeled with a sticker, the FDA said. The company said it shipped out more than 300,000 cases of cantaloupes that contained five to 15 melons, meaning the recall involved 1.5 million to 4.5 million pieces of fruit.
The FDA said none of the cantaloupes had been exported, reversing an earlier statement that some of the tainted melons had been shipped abroad.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that illnesses are expected for weeks to come because the incubation period for listeria can be a month or even longer. That means that someone who ate contaminated cantaloupe last week may not get sick until next month. Jensen Farms last shipped cantaloupes on Sept. 10. The shelf life is about two weeks.
Listeria is generally found in meat and unpasteurized dairy products, but cantaloupe has been linked to other pathogens, like salmonella, over the last decade. Saying that, health officials are truly surprised about the latest outbreak.