The recent listeria outbreak, which has taken 25 lives in the United States is being blamed on unsanitary conditions at a Colorado cataloupe packing facility, CNN reports. The FDA has admitted to being unable to pinpoint the exact reason for the contamination, which has led to the largest wave of deadly foodborne illness in the US since 1998. Failure to adequately clean and sanitize equipment, as well as a failure to remove heat from cantaloupes before storing them at cold temperatures (which can promote bacteria group) have been cited as likely reasons for the outbreak.
Jensen Farms of Granada, California have recieved violations in sanitay conditions via an official letter from the FDA, citing “widespread contamination throughout your facility and indicates poor sanitary practices in the facility.” Any cantaloupes from Jensen should be disposed of immediately.
Officials from the CDC have said that while it is too soon to call the outbreak ‘over’, the number of new cases seems to be decreasing. According to Dr. Barbara Mahon, “The peak in illnesses appears to have occurred from late August until the middle of September,” adding that at least two weeks of additonal monitoring will be necessary.