Canteloupe death toll rises

Kathryn Elliott

Are canteloupes your favorite end-of-summer snack? A foodbourne outrbreak reported by the CDC contains important information for melon consumers.

Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado shipped its Rocky Ford canteloupes to 17 states up until Sept. 10 — including Minnesota, according to the CDC web site.

On Sept. 14, the company recalled the canteloupes, which were contaminated with listeria bacteria. More than 72 people have reported symptoms of the listeria infection, a “rare and serious condition” that comes with fever and muscle aches. Thirteen people have died and reports continue to reach the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection can be fatal for at-risk groups including the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

According to an FDA news release, foodbourne outbreaks of listeria monocytogenes are generally associated with foods like deli-meats, hot dogs and Mexican-style soft cheeses, not whole canteloupes.

The FDA advised consumers to dispose of Rocky Ford canteloupes in a sealed container so that wildlife and children cannot get at them.