The FDA is conducting a root-cause investigation and environmental assessment at Jensen Farms. This includes the on-site expertise of FDA and state of Colorado microbiologists, environmental health specialists, veterinarians and investigative officers working directly with Jensen Farms to find how the recalled cantaloupes became contaminated with Listeria.

The experts are assessing the fields, the growing conditions, and the environment. They are also taking samples and will determine the most likely cause of contamination and identify potential controls to help prevent future outbreaks.

Jensen Farms recalled its whole cantaloupes on Sept. 14 in response to the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. Cantaloupes from other farms have not been linked to this outbreak.

The recalled cantaloupes were shipped from July 29 through September 10, 2011 to the following 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.

Because a shelf life of a cantaloupe can last about two weeks, it is also possible that some of the recalled product could still be in commerce or in home refrigerators. Consumers are advised to check with their retailer to find out where the cantaloupe they purchased originated. It is the retailers’ responsibility to know the source of their products. If consumers do have the recalled product in their home, discard immediately.

On Sept. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 55 people, including 8 deaths, in 14 states have been infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes.