The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) recently confirmed the number of deaths caused by a contaminated batch of cantaloupes has reached fourteen. 75 cases of people falling ill after consuming the listeria-infected cantaloupe were also reported.
Officials at the CDC are worried more victims will come forward due to the long incubation period of the bacteria. Four strains of listeria associated with the outbreak have been traced back to Rocky Ford cantaloupes. The tainted melons were produced in Holly, Colorado by Jensen Farms.
The FDA confirmed listeria was found in samples taken from a grocery store in the Denver area, as well as the Jensen Farms packing facility. The melons were sent out across 17 different states between July 29th and September 10th. Jensen Farms issued a nationwide recall of its cantaloupes on September 14th as news of the multi-state outbreak began to spread. Jensen is cooperating with federal authorities to remove any potentially contaminated melons from distribution. Unfortunately, some of the produce could still be present on store shelves.
Currently, Colorado is reporting the highest number of infections, followed by Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Other states where the illness has been reported include California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Listeria outbreaks are not typically associated with produce, but in 2009 bacteria were found in sprouts, followed by reports of tainted celery in 2010. According to the CDC symptoms of listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems and confusion.
If you or a loved one has been affected by this recent outbreak you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights.