Listeria does not grow on cantaloupes: Why the ‘deadliest food outbreak’ of the decade is yet another food scare campaign
by: Ethan A. Huff
Friday, September 30, 2011
Disease outbreaks associated with the US food supply have become an all-too-common occurrence these days, with at least six major outbreaks having been reported just this year alone. And with the most recent listeria outbreak affecting Colorado-sourced cantaloupes, where at least 13 people have died and 70 others have been sickened thus far, officials and the media are once again working the public into a frenzy about food safety.
On September 14, 2011, Holly, Co.-based Jensen Farms announced a recall of more than four million Rocky Ford cantaloupes it had shipped to at least 17 US states between July 29, 2011, and September 10, 2011. The recalled cantaloupes are said to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (listeria), a bacterium not typically associated with produce, and customers are being urged to discard the dangerous fruit.
Since the recall announcement was made, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the mainstream media have been repeatedly warning the public about the tainted melons, and citing purported death and injury numbers to apparently scare the public into paying closer attention to the issue.
On one hand, such warnings are necessary and helpful in preventing further injuries and deaths, and can be considered a public health benefit. On the other hand, they conveniently help promote the government’s agenda to seize more control over the food supply through expanded “food safety” regulations.