deadliest_catch.jpgI love watching “The Deadliest Catch” when I ever watch T.V.   The thought of working in freezing weather in 30-foot swells (I get really seasick) catching crabs for rich people has certain flair to it.  The risk is palpable – food meets death.  However, I am not so certain that the popular “Rocky Ford” cantaloupe could sustain an audience.  Really, how much risk can a cantaloupe have?

Well, apparently way too much.

The CDC as of September 21 listed eight deaths linked to Jensen Farms and Frontera Listeria-tainted cantaloupe from 14 states: 2 in Colorado, 1 in Maryland, 4 in New Mexico, and 1 in Oklahoma.

According to the FDA, cantaloupes were shipped to at least 25 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

What I expect the CDC to confirm Monday or Tuesday is at least 12 deaths: Colorado: 2 deaths, Kansas: 2 deaths, Maryland: 1 death, Missouri: 1 death, Nebraska: 1 death, New Mexico: 4 deaths and Oklahoma: 1 death.

And, here is a bit of history about deaths in foodborne illness outbreaks:

Jalisco’s Listeria Outbreak

  • January 1985
  • Vehicle: cheese
  • Number ill: 86
  • Deaths: 29

Bil Mar Foods Ready-to-eat Meats Listeria Outbreak

  • January 1998
  • Vehicle: deli and cured meats
  • Number ill: 108
  • Deaths: 14

Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) Salmonella Outbreak

  • September 2008
  • Vehicle:  Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Number ill: 716
  • Deaths: 9

Pilgrim’s Pride Listeria Outbreak

  • July 2002
  • Vehicle: deli meats
  • Number ill: 54
  • Deaths: 8

Dole Brand Natural Selections Bagged Spinach E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

  • August 2006
  • Vehicle: spinach
  • Number ill: 238
  • Deaths: 5

SanGar Produce Listeria Outbreak

  • January 2010
  • Vehicle: celery
  • Number ill: 10
  • Deaths: 5

Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

  • November 1992
  • Vehicle: ground beef
  • Number ill: 708
  • Deaths: 4

Chi Chi’s Hepatitis A Outbreak

  • October 2003
  • Vehicle: green onions
  • Number ill: 660
  • Deaths: 4