Listeria Outbreak Deadliest in a Decade

    An operator of a fruit and vegetable stand near Denver holds a California-grown cantaloupe for sale at her business on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. Federal and state officials have isolated a deadly outbreak of listeria to one cantaloupe farm near Holly, Colo. They have ordered a recall of 300,000 cases of melons grown on the Jensen Farms. Only California-grown cantaloupe could be found in Denver markets. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

    Up to 16 people have been killed and 72 infected so far by a food-poisoning outbreak traced to cantaloupes from a Colorado farm, health officials said Tuesday. It's the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade, surpassing the number of deaths linked to salmonella in peanuts almost three years ago. The listeria has been traced back to contaminated cantaloupes at Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., which issued a voluntary recall on Sept. 14, but cantaloupes raised at the farm have been shipped to 25 states. CDC director Thomas Frieden warned consumers to throw out any cantaloupes if they are unsure where it came from. Listeria is a bacterium that causes mild illness in healthy people but can be deadly to the elderly—and most of the deaths have been people over 60. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods has recalled more than 130,000 pounds of ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination.

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