Local grocers react to deadly Listeria outbreak

The Listeria outbreak traced to tainted Colorado cantaloupes has been the deadliest food-borne illness in the United States in a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 72 illnesses and 13 deaths across the country.

One of those deaths involved an elderly individual in southwest Missouri.

So KRCG talked with local grocery stores Wednesday to see if they have pulled cantaloupes off the shelves.

Reports of Listeria reaching Missouri have some shoppers worried about buying cantaloupes.

"I TMm worried about that every time I buy anything anymore. I usually look at my fruit to see whether it's from the United States or shipped in overseas. But the fruit from Colorado surprised me, Cole County Resident Clara Wibberg said.

So should local people be worried?

The Cole County Health Department said no and almost all the grocery stores in Jefferson City agreed with them.

"Produce is really fresh here. We get it in at least four days a week and as far as I know none of it is contaminated with Listeria bacteria, Schulte's Produce Manager Bob Schulte said.

I talked with many grocery stores in Jefferson City to see if they've taken any cantaloupes off their shelves. They all told me no, because they don't get their cantaloupes from Colorado.

"Right now, and for the last month, we've been getting our cantaloupes from California. We haven't heard anything about problems with cantaloupes there at all. We've only heard about them in Colorado, Schulte said.

All of the bad cantaloupes have come from Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado.

Health officials said very small infants, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system are more likely to become ill if exposed to the bacteria.

"Given what we know now, if you're in one of those high risk categories, please be extra vigilant for symptoms and have a low threshold for visiting your doctor if you should develop those symptoms, Dallas County Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Wendy Chung said.

Symptoms of Listeria include diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, and nausea.

Anyone with these symptoms who has consumed cantaloupe should see a doctor immediately.

If you would like to know more about Listeria please click here.