ABC World News: Cantaloupe Recall. Listeria Bacteria.

Cantaloupe Sep 16, 2011 – ABC’s World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer reported on the recall of cantaloupe because they might be contaminated with dangerous Listeria, which can cause muscle aches, fever, nausea, and can even bring on meningitis in the most serious cases.  22 have been reported infected and there are 2 deaths. As many as 4.5 million cantaloupes may be tainted. The FDA’s press announcement said the recall involves whole canteloupes from the Jensen Farms in Colorado shipped to at least 17 states, IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA.  So what is Listeria and how can it contaminate a thick rind covered fruit?

ABC’s Jim Avila reports that the Listeria is a bacteria that can be picked up from waste contaminated soil or water. It could also come from workers or tools during harvest or from packaging equipment or refrigerators used during storage. Once the germs are on the rind it is spread to the fruit from your kitchen knife. Cantaloupes are not easy to wash. The nooks and crannies can hide the germs. Melons should be scrubbed before being cut and should be eaten right away. Listeria can grow in the refrigerator and nearly 25% of all cases lead to death.

How do I know what cantaloupes are effected? According to the FDA, the cantaloupe may be labeled: Colorado Grown, Distributed by Frontera Produce, USA, Pesticide Free, Jensenfarms.com, Sweet Rocky Fords.

The cantaloupes are packed in cartons that are labeled: Frontera Produce, www.fronteraproduce.com or with Frontera Produce, Rocky Ford Cantaloupes. Both cartons also include: Grown and packed by Jensen Farms Granada, CO and Shipped by Frontera Produce LTD, Edinburg, Texas.

Not all of the recalled cantaloupes are labeled with a sticker. Consumers should ask the store or retailer if they have questions about where the cantaloupe came from.

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