HOLLY, Colo. — Tracking the ongoing spread of tainted cantaloupe is proving difficult following last week’s listeria outbreak that originated from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., according to the Associated Press (AP).
The problem is, since the melons were sold and re-sold, the farm could not provide a list of exactly where the cantaloupes ended up. “The food chain is very complex. There are many steps, and the more steps there are the harder it can be to link up each step to identify what the common source” is, Sherri McGarry, senior advisor at the FDA’s Office of Foods, was quoted as saying by AP.
Jensen Farms named 28 states where the cantaloupe was shipped, but there have been instances of illness reported elsewhere.
Last year, the FDA passed a new food-safety law that makes it easier to trace food through the system to better find the source of outbreaks. Larger farms are now required to submit detailed plans outlining how they keep their products safe.
Meanwhile, the death toll associated with the tainted cantaloupe continues to rise, with latest reports citing 17 deaths and 84 cases of illness in 19 states.