F.D.A. links cantaloupe to Listeria outbreak

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 19 said it had found Listeria monotcytogenes in samples of Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe taken from a Denver-area store and also on samples takes from equipment and cantaloupe at a Jensen Farms’ packing facility in Granada, Colo. Tests confirmed the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples matched one of the three different strains associated with a multi-state outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Sept. 19 had reported 35 people in 10 states had been inflicted with the outbreak strains and that four people had died.

Jensen Farms, based in Holly, Colo., recalled its Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe on Sept. 14 and is cooperating with the F.D.A. and state officials in Colorado. Colorado state health officials had identified Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe as a common food eaten by several people inflicted with the outbreak. Jensen Farms shipped the recalled cantaloupes from July 29 through Sept. 10 to at least 17 states with possible further distribution.

Cantaloupes from other farms in Colorado, including those in the Rocky Ford growing area, have not been linked to the outbreak.

The F.D.A., microbiologists in Colorado, environmental health specialists, veterinarians and investigative officers are working to determine the most likely cause of contamination and to identify potential controls to help prevent contamination in the future.
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