FDA Finds Soiled Equipment at Cantaloupe Farm

It could explain how listeria outbreak started at Colorado facility
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 5:32 PM CDT
FDA Finds Soiled Equipment at Cantaloupe Farm
A field with rotting cantaloupes is pictured on the Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

(Newser) – Federal health inspectors discovered listeria inside the packing facility of the Colorado farm that shipped out lethal cantaloupes, killing 25 people so far, reports USA Today. FDA officials also found several sanitation problems, including dirty and contaminated equipment that could explain how listeria spread to the fruit.

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For example, a truck that ferried waste cantaloupes to a cattle farm was parked near the open-air packing facility. Cow manure on the wheels could have infected the produce, say officials. Other violations at Jensen Farms included pools of water on the floor and a dirty potato-washing machine (for the cantaloupes) that could have introduced listeria into the facility. The farm bought the hard-to-clean washer in July, the same month the outbreak started, notes AP. (Read more listeria stories.)

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