FDA Cites Dirty Equipment in Cantaloupe Listeria

Maryland man's death linked to outbreak

By MARY CLARE JALONICK
|  Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011  |  Updated 9:06 PM EDT
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FDA Cites Dirty Equipment in Cantaloupe Listeria

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A listeria outbreak is linked to cantaloupe from Colorado.

The cantaloupe listeria outbreak that has killed dozens and sickened more was probably caused by pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean packing equipment at a Colorado farm, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

A Maryland man’s death is one of 25 linked to the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the outbreak sickened 123 others.

Contamination at the packing facility at Jensen Farms is likely to blame for the outbreak that killed 25 people in a dozen states, according to the FDA. Investigators found positive listeria samples on equipment and fruit there.

Jensen Farms had recently purchased used equipment that was corroded and hard to clean. The agency said the way the cantaloupes were cooled after coming off the fields may have also contributed to listeria growth, the FDA said.

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