Listeria-Laced Cantaloupe Death Toll up to 21, CDC Says

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Defective Products on Monday, October 10, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Oct. 7 that more people have become sickened by cantaloupe contaminated by listeria despite a recall of the tainted fruit. The number of people sickened in Missouri and elsewhere now stands at around 109 people, including 21 deaths, making it the deadliest listeria outbreak in 13 years.

We previously discussed the tainted cantaloupe recall in our Sept. 22 blog post. The cantaloupe came from a farm in Colorado and was distributed to stores in Missouri and at least 23 other U.S. states between July 29 and Sept. 10. Soon after the cantaloupe reached grocery stores, consumers began becoming sickened with listeria poisoning.

Listeria has a long incubation period, so illnesses have continued to crop up weeks after the CDC announced the cantaloupe recall. The government’s Oct. 7 report said that deaths have been connected with the tainted cantaloupe in 21 cases. One of those killed was a Missouri resident. Authorities in some of the states reported fatalities they suspect were due to tainted cantaloupe, but have not yet confirmed. One pregnant woman who ate some of the cantaloupe suffered a miscarriage, the CDC said.

Most adults can consume listeria without serious health effects. However, older people, young children and those with weakened immune systems can suffer serious illness and are at risk of death.

Though the expiration date for the contaminated cantaloupe has passed, authorities believe some consumers may still have the fruit in their refrigerators. Those who believe they have tainted fruit should immediately throw it away and sterilize any kitchen utensils that came in contact with it.

Source: MSNBC, “CDC: 21 dead, 109 sick as cantaloupe outbreak expands,” JoNel Aleccia, Oct. 07, 2011

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