Listeria laden cantalope risky-especially during pregnancy

Listeria made the news this week. While it sounds like some minty tasting mouthwash, it’s not. It’s a bacteria that can cause a pretty nasty infection–particularly in pregnant women. In fact, pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get Listeria infections than other healthy adults.

How does one acquire a Listeria infection? It’s found mostly in uncooked or undercooked meat (hot dogs, deli meat, lunch meats), refrigerated pates or meat spreads, uncooked vegetables, smoked seafood (lox) and unpasteurized dairy products (soft cheeses like brie). That’s why you get that Off-Limits list from your OB about these foods. Well, this week, you can add cantalope from a farm in Colorado to this list. (See the advisory at the end of this blog for details.)

Symptoms of infection include fever, bodyaches, chills, stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. It can feel like the flu or food poisoning. Some pregnant women have very mild symptoms. Occasionally, pregnant women infected with Listeria can become very ill as the bacteria infects the bloodstream, and can lead to pneumonia or meningitis. Not good. Your doc can prescribe antibiotics if the infection is diagnosed early. And, treatment can prevent infection in the fetus.

The best defense against Listeria is a good offense. So, be sure to follow news updates on this recent Listeria outbreak. And, avoid all those other foods that might be vectors for Listeria!



FDA issues alert over listeria concerns linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms of Holly

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a bulletin early today warning consumers not to eat Rocky Ford Cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms of Holly.

The FDA said that Jensen is voluntarily recalling their shipments of Rocky Ford cantaloupe because they have the potential to be contaminated with listeria.

The company is working with the state of Colorado and the FDA to inform consumers of the recall, said the FDA.

According to the federal agency, Jensen Farms is voluntarily recalling Rocky Ford cantaloupe shipped from July 29 through Sept. 10 and distributed to at least 17 states with potential that the cantaloupe may have even wider-ranging distribution.

“The recalled cantaloupes have the potential to
be contaminated with listeria and may be linked to a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis,” said the FDA.
The CDC reports that at least 22 people in seven states have been infected with the outbreak-associated strains of listeria monocytogenes as of Wednesday.

The patients report eating whole cantaloupes purchased from grocery stores marketed from the Rocky Ford growing region of Colorado.

The agency said FDA traceback data from the state of Colorado about their confirmed cases of listeria monocytogenes have identified a common producer of Rocky Ford cantaloupes.

Although the investigation is ongoing, no other Rocky Ford cantaloupe producer has been found in the Colorado traceback, said the FDA.

Ryan Jensen, of Jensen Farms, said the farm is voluntarily participating in the recall. He said the recall involves only whole cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms and no other commodities are involved. Anyone having the cantaloupes should destroy them, said Jensen.

“Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety and maintains many third party safety audits, as we have for many years,” said Jensen. “We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol.”


described Jensen Farms as a third generation family farm in Holly. Consumers with questions can contact Jensen Farms by e-mail at or phone 1-800-267-4561 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Listerosis is a rare and serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called listeria. Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in high risk groups. These include older adults, people with compromised immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions such as cancer and unborn babies and pregnant women.

The FDA said consumers should not eat Rocky Ford Cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms and should immediately discard the recalled cantaloupes in the trash in a sealed container so that children, animals, such as wildlife, cannot access them.

According to the FDA, the product may have the following labeling: Colorado Grown, Distributed by Frontera Produce, USA, Pesticide Free,, Sweet Rocky Fords.

The recalled cantaloupes were distributed to Illinois, Wyoming, Tennesse, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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