Sep 13, 2011 8:46 PM by Trovette Tottress

Rocky Ford weathering Listeria outbreak

It's a town known for its mouth watering cantaloupe and juicy watermelons. But lately, this melon capital has been in the spotlight for a different reason. Four deaths in Colorado and New Mexico have a possible connection to Rocky Ford cantaloupes.

"I've had three people so far that didn't buy and expressed their opinion that they wouldn't buy on account of the fact they didn't know what it was", said Bill Sacket.

The Colorado Department of Health says Listeria has been associated with cantaloupe grown in the Rocky Ford area. One market decided to pull cantaloupe from its shelves just as a precaution.

"I would have bought some, if they would have had some", said Wade Patterson.

"I've been eating the cantaloupe for thirty years and I haven't been sick by any one of them", said Bill Sacket.

Rick Ritter of the La Junta Health Department says although there's no need for panic, if you fall into a particular category, you shouldn't eat cantaloupe.

That includes pregnant women, newborns, people with compromised immune systems, and older people", said Rick Ritter.
Field inspectors are visiting distributors around the state to take samples. They're hoping to identify the specific source. As of now, no recalls have been made for melons shipped to grocery stores throughout the region.

Right now its business as usual.

"Hopefully when all the facts come out, we'll see that it was definitely nothing to do with the cantaloupe", said Bill Sackett.

And a town proud of its melon status vows it will continue to produce its sweetness.

"By next year, we'll have to think of something else because this will be all gone", said Bill Sackett.

For more information on Listeria and its symptoms click here.



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