February 23, 2012
ATLANTAThe Denver Post is reporting the death of a Colorado man has been linked to the 2011 cantaloupe Listeria outbreak, which is thought to be the deadliest foodborne illness in the United States in the last 20 years. Mike Hauser, 68, died Feb. 21 from complications from Listeria.
In December 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its final report stating more than 30 people are dead and a total of 133 persons in 26 states have been sickened with the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes linked to whole cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms production fields in Granada, Colo. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage.
In early September 2011, FDA, CDC and state health departments began to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Listeriosis. Early in the investigation, cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in the southwest region of Colorado were implicated in the outbreak. A subsequent environmental assessment was conducted to gather more information to assist FDA in identifying the factors that potentially contributed to the introduction, growth or spread of the Listeria monocytogenes strains that contaminated the cantaloupe. The probe, conducted by a team of federal and state officials, found multiple problems at the Colorado packing facility, such as design flaws that led to water pooling near packing equipment and the use of equipment that was difficult to clean.
In January 2012, an Energy and Commerce Committee report detailing the investigation into the 2011 Listeria outbreak in cantaloupes grown and processed at Jensen Farms revealed the use of new processing equipment and the decision to implement a packing and washing technique involving water without added chlorine were two probable causes of the introduction and spread of the Listeria contamination. The report also called into question third-party audits conducted at the facility.
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