Old, dirty equipment blamed for cantaloupe listeria outbreak

    Old, dirty equipment is being blamed for the listeria outbreak that’s made more than 100 people sick.

    An FDA investigation of Colorado’s Jensen Farms found the cantaloupe that’s been making people sick was in contact with used equipment the farm had recently purchased. It’s old and hard to clean, as is the floor near where the fruits were packaged.

    The Associated Press reports samples from Jensen Farms tested positive for listeria, which has now killed more than 20 people nationwide and is the largest outbreak of a food-borne illness in the country in the last 25 years.

    Two other possible sources of contamination have been identified: Jensen’s cooling method for the fruit, which may not eliminate all the moisture, and a truck that frequently carried cantaloupe to a cattle operation and could have tracked the bacteria into the packaging facility.

    Contaminated cantaloupe should be off store shelves by now, but symptoms can take up to two months to present. Twenty-five people have died.

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