Investigation produces more details about contaminated melons

In a recent post, we shared the story about the serious listeria contamination among cantaloupes that have reached various states throughout the U.S. Some of the defective product was shipped to Pennsylvania, making it important for people here to understand the danger of what’s been called the “deadliest food outbreak in a decade.”

When we last discussed the dangerous product, the death toll related to listeria was already at 13 people. Sadly, the death toll has increased to a reported 25 victims. Whether the recalled product led to one, 13 or 25 deaths, any sickness or death caused by a consumer product means that a thorough investigation into where and how the food was handled is crucial.

That FDA investigation has begun, and sources report some of the important findings about the Colorado farm and facility where the melons were handled:

While all of the above information is certainly valuable to the FDA and the company, there is still more to discover. Safety officials are still not certain of exactly where the listeria came from. They know it’s not from the water source and suspect it could have gotten off of a truck used to transport melons. Another theory is that drying equipment used in the facility could be contaminated because it hasn’t been properly cleaned since it used to be used for potatoes.

Theories are of little value, and the FDA needs to come up with some more concrete answers for the farm to be able to improve the safety of its facility and begin running again.

There is no word yet whether the contamination has prompted any product liability lawsuits. We will post an update when there are new developments related to this defective product story.


Wall Street Journal: “Contaminated Pools Cited in Listeria Spread,” Bill Tomson, Oct. 20, 2011

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