Cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado have been linked to thirteen deaths and seventy-two infections in eighteen states due to a listeria outbreak. Jensen Farms has recalled its entire 2011 cantaloupe crop.
The government has issued a federal investigation into the outbreak, searching for possible water or animal contamination and examining Jensen Farms’ cultivation processes. Several families have filed lawsuits against the growers as well as their local grocery stores where the tainted cantaloupes were purchased.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect the death toll and number of infections to increase over the next few weeks, as listeria has an incubation period of several weeks before it develops into listeriosis in the body. The young, elderly, and pregnant woman are most vulnerable to the infection since they have compromised immune systems.