Cantaloupe Recalled Amid Listeria Outbreak

Jensen Farms, of Holly, Colorado just issued a recall of its shipments of Rocky Ford whole cantaloupe over concerns the fruit is potentially contaminated with the dangerous foodborne pathogen, <"">Listeria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced. Jensen Farms is collaborating with the State of Colorado and the FDA to advise consumers of the recall.

Yesterday we wrote that the FDA announced that it is collaborating with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health agencies to look into a multi-state Listeria poisoning outbreak that is believed to be linked to cantaloupes from Colorado’s Rocky Ford growing region.

The whole cantaloupes involved in the Jensen Farm recall were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10th 2011, and distributed to Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

The whole cantaloupes have either a green and white sticker that reads “Product of USA-Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe” or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that reads “Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords.” If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, the retail store of origin should be contacted for sourcing information.

Jensen Farms is advising consumers who may be in possession of these potentially contaminated cantaloupes to destroy the products. This recall involves only whole cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms’ no other commodities are involved. Jensen Farms can be reached via email at or toll-free at 1.800.267.4561 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST).

As of our posting yesterday, at least 15 people infected with the same outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Public health officials at the state and local level have spoken with most reporting illnesses and most confirm that they consumed whole cantaloupes. Officials continue to work to determine the point of contamination origin; environmental samples have been retrieved and testing is underway.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, which is a potentially fatal infection. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, and nausea, and can also cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. For susceptible people, including the developing fetus, listeriosis can cause serious illnesses linked to the central nervous system. Listeriosis infects about 2,500 people in the U.S., 500 die each year.

Listeria poisoning is of particular concern to pregnant women, who are 20 times likelier to be infected with listeriosis, which can kill fetuses, causing miscarriages and stillbirths. Listeriosis can also prompt premature births, can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and can prompt neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

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