MANHATTAN – Kansas is among the 17 states included in a new food safety recall and consumers are advised to be aware that whole, Rocky Ford cantaloupes available in the state may be contaminated with Listeria.
The full name for the bacterium is Listeria monocytogenes, and the foodborne illness it causes can be present in a mild, non-invasive form called listerial gastroenteritis or a more invasive and severe, life-threatening form called invasive listeriosis, said Karen Blakeslee, K-State Research and Extension food scientist.
While anyone can be vulnerable to foodborne illness, Blakeslee noted that Listeria monocytogenes is of special concern to pregnant women (as it can cause miscarriage), older adults and others who have weakened or compromised immune systems from illness or medical treatment, such as chemotherapy.
The recall is voluntary and originates with Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., which is working with the State of Colorado and the FDA to advise consumers.
The cantaloupes in question were shipped between July 29 and Sept. 10, 2011, and have a green and white sticker that reads: “Product of USA, Frontera Produce, Colorado Fresh Rocky Ford Cantaloupe,” or a gray, yellow and green sticker that reads: “Jensen Farms, Sweet Rocky Fords.”
Consumers are encouraged to read labels carefully, and, in the absence of a label, to ask store managers for supplier information. If in doubt, or otherwise unsure of the origin of the cantaloupe, Blakeslee recommended not eating whole cantaloupe or cut pieces from a salad bar or dessert tray when the origin also is unknown.
If consumers have already purchased a cantaloupe involved in the recall and have it in their possession, Jensen Farms has requested that consumers destroy the potentially contaminated product.
For more information about the recall, e-mail Jensen Farms at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-267-4561 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. MST. More information about food safety also is available at K-State Research and Extension offices throughout the state and online at www.ksre.ksu.edu/foodsafety/ and www.rrc.ksu.edu.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the
K-State campus in Manhattan.