Cantaloupe marketed from the Rocky Ford region of Colorado may be tainted with strains of the bacteria Listeria, which could lead to flu-like illness in the elderly and adults with weakened immune systems. On September 14, 2011, the cantaloupe manufacturer, Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall of Rocky Ford Cantaloupes.
Do I Have a Cantaloupe Food Poisoning Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one have eaten cantaloupe and been diagnosed with Listeriosis, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a cantaloupe food poisoning lawsuit.
UPDATE: Cantaloupe Listeria Lawsuits Settled
February 12, 2015 — Victims of an outbreak of Listeria linked to cantaloupe have reached an undisclosed settlement. Click here to read more.
September 27, 2013 — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado has filed federal charges against the owners of Jensen Farms. In 2011, a outbreak of Listeria that killed at least 33 people was traced to unwashed cantaloupe from the farm. Click here to read more.
August 20, 2012 — A deadly outbreak of cantaloupe food poisoning has sickened 141 people, killed 2, and hospitalized 31 people across 20 states. The cantaloupes were contaminated with Salmonella. The outbreak was traced to one farm in southwestern Indiana. The FDA has refused to name the farm.
Cantaloupe Food Poisoning: An Overview
One of the largest and deadliest outbreaks of food poisoning was a Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe in 2011. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 147 people were infected in 28 states, of whom 33 died. In addition, one pregnant woman had a miscarriage and 10 additional deaths occurred in people who tested positive for outbreak-associated strains of Listeria.
In September 2013, Eric and Ryan Jensen of Jensen Farms in Colorado were charged with six misdemeanor counts of selling adulterated food in interstate commerce. If convicted, each man could face 6 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine per charge. The criminal charges were filed after investigators from the CDC and FDA found evidence that the cantaloupes were processed on equipment formerly used on raw potatoes. Because Listeria grows in soil and cow manure, this may help explain how Listeria contaminated the facility. Investigators also found that the equipment was equipped with a chlorine spray, which could have been used to disinfect the cantaloupe. However, the spray was never used.
What is Listeria and Listeriosis?
Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in soil, stream water, sewage, plants and foods. Transferring the bacteria to plants or vegetables, animals can be carriers without ever displaying symptoms. Listeria monocytogenes can also be found in deli meats, hot dogs and dairy products, including soft cheeses.
When humans eat contaminated foods — such as uncooked meats, uncooked vegetables or unpasteurized milk — it can lead to an infection called Listeriosis, which can be potentially life-threatening. While people rarely contract Listeriosis, at-risk populations may develop flu-like symptoms.
Most foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can be cooked and pasteurized in order to get rid of the bacteria. However, during food handling at manufacturers, contamination can occur after cooking and before packaging. Refrigeration may also cause the bacteria to grow or multiply in some foods.
Populations at higher risks of contracting Listeriosis include:
- Pregnant women
- Persons with weakened immune systems due to transplant or certain diseases, therapies or medications
- Persons with cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, and liver or kidney disease
- Persons with AIDS
- Older adults
Listeriosis Side Effects
While the majority of people may eat Listeria-infected foods and never experience symptoms, at-risk populations may display some of the following side effects as a result of Listeriosis:
- Muscle ache
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
Additionally, pregnant women may be at risk of:
- Premature delivery
- Life-threatening infection of the newborn
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Warning
The FDA announced on September 14, 2011 that Jensen Farms, the manufacturer of the contaminated products, issued a voluntary recall of cantaloupe marketed from the Rocky Ford region. The cantaloupe recall is for melons shipped from July 29 – September 10, 2011. The FDA is further recommending consumers do not eat and throw away Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms.
Previously, the CDC issued a warning to consumers about the possible contamination. So far, the CDC confirmed 22 total cases of Listeriosis in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virgina and Oklahoma.
The CDC warned:
“The CDC recommends that persons at high risk for Listeriosis, including older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women, do not eat cantaloupes marketed as coming from the Rocky Ford region of Colorado.”
The agency is also recommending consumers check the labels on their melons, or follow-up with representatives from their grocery store, if they believe they have purchased cantaloupes from the Rocky Ford region. Any melons believed to be contaminated should be disposed of in sealed trash bags.
Do I Have a Cantaloupe Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
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