At Least 16 Deaths Linked to Deadliest Food Outbreak in Last Decade: Listeria-Tainted Cantaloupe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are working together to inform consumers about the risks of listeria illness from tainted cantaloupes. The listeria outbreak has been connected to Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado, which initiated a recall of contaminated cantaloupes in early September. According to the FDA, recalled cantaloupes may be labeled as “Colorado Grown,” “Distributed by Frontera Produce,” “,” or “Sweet Rocky Fords.” However, not all cantaloupes included in the recall are labeled with a sticker.

The Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Jensen Farms were shipped from July 29 through Sept. 10 to Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Health officials have stated that at least 16 people have reportedly died from possible listeria illness associated with the Colorado cantaloupes. Moreover, the CDC said that about 72 illnesses have been linked to the contaminated fruit.

All food recalls are serious, but listeria cantaloupe contamination has even more severe consequences due to the fact that listeria is more fatal than more well-known pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. A 1998 listeria outbreak associated with hot dogs and possibly deli meats caused 21 deaths and a 1985 listeria outbreak associated with Mexican-style soft cheese caused 52 deaths.

Although listeria usually only causes the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems to fall ill, everyone should be on alert about the recent listeria cantaloupe contamination. It can take four weeks or more for an individual to get sick after eating food tainted with listeria. Common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and other gastrointestinal problems. Some victims may become incapacitated and unable to speak as a result of listeria illness.

At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our California products liability attorneys understand the many challenges a person must overcome after suffering injury or illness from a contaminated or defective product. Our lawyers uphold a moral calling to stand up for injured people against major companies that habitually snub taking responsibility and only work to increase their profits. Contact us today by calling 213-514-8332 to find out more about how we can help.