West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass is warning consumers that a recall on cantaloupes includes products shipped to nearby states Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and that shoppers should make sure that any cantaloupes purchased in those states are not part of the recall.
“Given our shared border, it’s quite likely that some West Virginians buy groceries in Pennsylvania. At this point, we don’t know exactly what stores may be affected by this recall, so consumers should ensure any purchased cantaloupe is not part of the recall before consuming,” said Commissioner Douglass. He noted that West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) inspectors are aware of the recall and checking for recalled product during regular store visits.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, to date, 22 people in seven states - including one person in West Virginia - have become ill after exposure to Listeria monocytogenes linked to the recalled cantaloupes. West Virginia has not been identified as a state where recalled cantaloupes were distributed. Health officials think the person may have become ill in another state.
Jensen Farms is voluntarily recalling cantaloupe shipped from July 29 through September 10, 2011, and distributed to at least 17 states - with possible further distribution.
The whole cantaloupes 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. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, it is recommended that consumers contact the retail store for sourcing information. The cantaloupes are packed in cartons that are labeled: Frontera Produce, www.fronteraproduce.com or with Frontera Produce, Rocky Ford Cantaloupes. Both cartons also include: Grown and packed by Jensen Farms Granada, CO and Shipped by Frontera Produce LTD, Edinburg, Texas.
While all people are susceptible to Listeria infection, older adults, persons with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are at particular risk. The bacterium can contaminate foods and cause a mild non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) or a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness (called invasive listeriosis). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and serious illness or death in newborn babies, though the mother herself rarely becomes seriously ill.
Symptoms of listeriosis usually include fever and muscle aches. Anyone who thinks they may have listeriosis should consult a doctor.
Consumers should not eat the recalled cantaloupes, and should place them in the trash in a sealed container so that children and animals cannot access them.
Jensen Farms is working with the FDA and the State of Colorado to remove its Rocky Ford Cantaloupe from the marketplace. The FDA is also working with CDC, the states and other regulatory partners to investigate where in the supply chain the contamination occurred.
This is the first time a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been reportedly linked to whole cantaloupe. Foods that typically have been associated with foodborne outbreaks of Listeriosis are deli meats, hot dogs, and Mexican-style soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk.
For more information about the recall, vist http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm
Buddy Davidson, Communications Officer
304-558-3708; 304-541-5932 (cell)