Monday, September 26, 2011

LISTERIA IN CUT-UP CANTALOUPES: A DOUBLE RISK FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

Now there is a recall of cut-up fresh cantaloupe and fruit medley containing cut-up cantaloupe. Carol’s Cuts LLC, a Kansas food processor, had the bad luck to order its cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado . This is where the Rocky Ford whole cantaloupes originated that were found to carry the dangerous Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. So far, at least 55 illnesses and eight deaths have been conclusively linked to eating this "healthy" fruit (but remember the long delays in symptoms appearing and in reporting of cases).

The American eating public first began to hear about the suspect Rocky Ford cantaloupes at least two weeks ago. The FDA issued a kind of early alert, even before they were 100% sure, and even before the company's recall (see earlier post). However, the recall of the cut-up items is only coming now - much later. And, it is coming well after the "best-if-used-by" dates - September 3 and September 19, meaning they have most likely been eaten.

Delays create a double risk for people at high risk for Listeriosis, such as pregnant women (because of dangers to the fetus). Two weeks can mean over 40 meals in which you might have eaten cut-up cantaloupe, because you didn't know it was dangerous.

This is yet another reason not to eat cut-up fresh produce if you are pregnant.

I would suggest that Americans avoid all cut-up cantaloupe, and fresh ready-made fruit salads containing cantaloupe, until we find out if more companies will confess to having used the contaminated Rocky Ford ones.

To your good health,
TSF

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