2011 United States listeriosis outbreak

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2011 United States Listeriosis Outbreak was a significant foodborne illness event that occurred in the United States. The outbreak was caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which is commonly found in soil and water.

Background[edit | edit source]

The Listeria bacterium can be found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables, as well as in processed foods that become contaminated after processing, such as soft cheeses and cold cuts at the deli counter. Ingesting food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can lead to listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

Outbreak[edit | edit source]

The 2011 United States listeriosis outbreak was traced back to cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The contaminated cantaloupes were shipped to 28 states, leading to one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States in over a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a total of 147 people were infected in 28 states, with 33 deaths.

Response[edit | edit source]

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC worked together to investigate the outbreak and trace it back to its source. Jensen Farms recalled its cantaloupes and cooperated with the investigation. The FDA found that the farm's packing facility did not adequately clean the cantaloupes, which likely led to the contamination.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

In the aftermath of the outbreak, the FDA and other agencies increased their efforts to prevent foodborne illnesses. This included more rigorous inspections of food processing facilities and stricter regulations for food safety. The outbreak also highlighted the importance of proper food handling and preparation in preventing listeriosis and other foodborne illnesses.

See also[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD