Written by: Scott Anderson, Montana Food Safety Attorney
There have been two major recalls involving Cantaloupe contaminated by Listeria posing serious risk of illness to Humans. The first outbreak involved Jensen Farms, of Holly, CO. and was a widespread outbreak. The FDA issued a food recall alert in early September. The whole cantaloupes were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10, 2011. The State of Colorado also issued a food safety recall. Colorado is where the tainted Cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria was produced. The product was shipped to several states.
The FDA also issued a recall for Carol’s Cut Fresh Cut Cantaloupe and Cut Mixed Fruit as a “possible health risk” due to Listeria. “The Carol’s Cuts” recall is part of a larger recall involving Listeria contamination and Cantaloupe. This outbreak affects many more states and is contained in pre-prepared salads and foods that may be in your super-market’s fresh food deli.
The State of Montana has recently launched its own investigation, involving residents in Gallatin and Yellowstone Counties according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. “Contaminated cantaloupes may still be in grocery stores and in consumers homes” according to Montana DPHHS director Anna Whiting Sorrell.
Listeriosis, is a serious bacterial infection caused by contaminated food. The condition mostly affects those with immune compromised vulnerability. This includes, older adults, pregnant women, newborns and small children. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions.
The median incubation period is 21 days with diarrhea lasting anywhere from 1-3 days. If you suspect you or a loved one has been infected then contact your physician. Also, food discount cards such as those issued by Smiths in Kalispell and Columbia Falls or Safeway in Whitefish, actually track all of your purchases. You can ask the store for a list of items you purchased to determine if cantaloupe was purchased within the incubation period if you use the discount card. Also, take into consideration your travel to other areas and States. Other neighboring states have been hit harder by this outbreak.
Anderson & Bliven P.C. are your Montana Food Safety Attorneys. If you suspect food poisoning, after receiving proper treatment, you may have a claim for a settlement to pay for medical bills, travel expenses, pain and suffering along with the affects upon close family members. Settlement also often includes payments for future medical monitoring and the cost of health insurance
Safety Tips: Persons of high risk, older adults, pregnant women, persons with compromised immune symptoms should not eat cantaloupes from the Rocky Mountain Region. Wash your hands before and after consumption of cantaloupe. Cantaloupes coming from the Rocky Ford plant should be disposed of in a closed plastic bag and placed in a sealed trashcan.
In conclusion, it is difficult to trace exactly where Listeria contaminated cantaloupe or food, which had contacted with the cantaloupe. If you are having flu like symptoms and you consumed the contaminated cantaloupe call your doctor immediately. If you are having difficulty determining whether you suffered infection tell your doctor who can run tests confirming the diagnosis. If you have been injured by listeria-contaminated cantaloupe after receiving medical treatment, please call our office so we track the spread across Montana.
Scott L. Anderson