A Truly Alarming Number Of People Are Dying From Eating Tainted Cantaloupe

Hold it — before you munch on that cantaloupe, you might want to make sure it’s not contaminated with bacteria. A new report from food officials has attributed at least a whopping 13 deaths to an outbreak of the melons grown in Colorado.

Businessweek cites the statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says 72 people across 18 states have fallen ill with listeriosis, traced back to contaminated cantaloupes. The fruits come from Colorado’s Rocky Ford region (and bear the same brand name) and were shipped by Jensen Farms between July 29 and Sept. 10, says the Food and Drug Administration.

The recent outbreak is the worst since 1998, when 21 people died from listeria after eating tainted hot dogs, says the CDC.

In 1998, 21 people died from listeria linked to tainted hot dogs, according to a CDC online database.

Those falling ill from the contaminated cantaloupe have primarily been 60 or older or with weak immune systems. Lab tests have found the contaminating bacteria in equipment and produce at a packing facility in Colorado and also in an ill patient’s home.

Symptoms of listeria infection include diarrhea, muscle aches and fever. Consult a medical professional immediately if you think you’ve ingested an infected cantaloupe.

U.S. Death Toll From Bacteria-Contaminated Cantaloupe Rises [Businessweek]

Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Whole Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Colorado [CDC]