Monday, October 31, 2011

Tainted Cantaloupe: Listeria

In late September, an outbreak of Listeriosis cases were reported throughout California. 13 deaths have been linked with the disease, and potentially an additional two. The tainted cantaloupes causing the outbreak was traced back to Jensen Farms in Holly, California. The bacteria carrying the disease is more deadly than E. Coli. Between July 29 and September 10, these infected cantaloupes were nationally distributed. By September 12, the first case had been reported and recalls began. The recalls took a huge toll on the entire cantaloupe industry. Demand plummeted when Americans heard of the crisis. Although it was only a select group of cantaloupes tainted with the bacteria, customers have avoided purchasing cantaloupes in general in fear of Listeria. The contamination of one batch of cantaloupes completely altered the buyers' desire to purchase them. This affects cantaloupe producers all over the world, not just Jensen's farm. The shift in demand causes these producers to lose money. Without the money they are forced to produce fewer to no amounts of cantaloupe. The cantaloupe industry has turned into a downward spiral, most likely not to recover for months and possibly years. 
-Morgan C.

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