The cantaloupes that caused the deadliest listeria outbreak in the history of the United States has been traced back and is most likely linked to unsanitary conditions at a packing plant on a Colorado farm. This lethal outbreak of food-borne bacteria has been the worse in more than twenty years. It has sickened one hundred twenty-three people and killed at least twenty-five people. One woman suffered a miscarriage because of contacting the food-borne bacteria.
The design of the packing plant was allowing water to collect in pools, which made it very difficult to sanitize and clean the plant where the firm was packing the cantaloupes. These were very unsanitary conditions. The plant were the cantaloupes were packed was part of the Jensen Farms. It was first investigated in August and people in twenty-six states have been infected. It is not possible to exactly pinpoint how the bacterial got into the plant but since it was registered in July 2010, the FDA has not inspected it.
The food-borne bacteria Listeria is frequently the cause of the United States food recalls in processed cheese and meat but finding it in contaminating fresh produce is a worrisome and new development. The number of cases that are being linked to the cantaloupes is decreasing it is too soon to say the outbreak is over. It has a long incubation period and the symptoms sometimes take two months to show up after people have consumed the contaminated food.
The listeria organism has to get on food and grow to the level where it can cause disease so it could have happened anywhere from the trucks carrying the cantaloupe or even from the fields.