25 Now Dead From Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupe

The <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/listeria">Listeria outbreak spawned by Jensen Farms Cantaloupe has resulted in more deaths. As of current data, 25 people have died and 123 have been sickened nationwide in the deadliest known food borne illness outbreak in decades; 12 states have seen deaths and illnesses.

Although the tainted Jensen Farms cantaloupe is likely off store shelves at this point, because the incubation for Listeria poisoning can be as long as two months, the number of illness may likely continue to grow, said The Associated Press (AP). The typical incubation period is one-to-three weeks; however, symptoms can appear as quickly as within three days.

Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a sixth death in Colorado and a second in New York; deaths have also been reported in Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming, the AP noted.

We wrote yesterday that food regulators are announcing that the Listeria poisoning outbreak has been linked to a Jensen Farm’s packing facility. KKTV reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be issuing a report linking the deadly outbreak to Jensen Farm’s packing facility near Holly, Colorado.

The FDA report will discuss the outbreak’s so-called “root cause,” according to CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. Jensen Farm owners have been advised that no bacteria was detected on the farm, but that bacteria was found at its Granada packing facility a few miles away, said KKTV recently. Owner Eric Jensen told CBS4 that Listeria was detected in the packing facility when an initial inspection took place, but was not found at an environmental assessment that occurred later, said KKTV.

Cantaloupe are harvested from the field and moved to a packing shed for washing prior to shipping; moisture could be a culprit in the massive outbreak. According to the farm’s owners, the packing facility, now considered the deadly outbreak’s point of origin, is cleaned routinely; they claim they don’t know how Listeria ended up on equipment there, said KKTV. Four strains of Listeria monocytogenes are involved in this outbreak.

Last month, the FDA discovered Listeria monocytogenes in samples of Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe taken from a Denver area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe at Jensen Farms’ packing facility. On September 14, Jensen Farms recalled over 300,000 cases of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes in response to the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. We recently wrote that Fruit Fresh Up Inc. of Depew, New York recalled nearly 5,000 individual packages of its “Fresh Cut Cantaloupe and Cut Mixed Fruit Containing Cantaloupe” in response to the outbreak.

The Listeria pathogen can lead to the dangerous and deadly listeriosis, which can cause fever and muscle aches, often preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions may also be present and the infection can lead to fatal meningitis or encephalitis. Pregnant women are the most susceptible and may exhibit a mild, flu-like illness. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn. To date, four illnesses involved in this outbreak involved pregnant women; three became ill while pregnant, one suffered a miscarriage; one newborn was diagnosed with listeriosis, said WebMD previously.

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