Pregnant Iowa woman miscarries due to listeria-in-cantaloupe

Mommies-to-be like their cantaloupe too. So the news of the first stillbirth linked to listeria-in-cantaloupe is expected, but nonetheless tragic.

The Des Moines Register reports tonight that a pregnant Iowa woman miscarried recently because of a listeriosis infection she apparently picked up from tainted cantaloupe, state health officials said today.

The unidentified northwest Iowa woman was infected with the same strain of listeria that has been spread via cantaloupe grown by Jensen Farms in Colorado.

The company’s Rocky Ford brand melons, which were recalled Sept. 14, have been tied to at least 18 deaths nationwide.

The woman told state investigators that she bought cantaloupe at an Iowa store a few weeks ago. Officials strongly suspect the melon came from Jensen Farms and caused her illness, but they haven’t proven the theory yet.

Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the department’s medical director, said that for some reason, listeria bacteria are particularly harmful to fetuses, and infections regularly cause miscarriages.

Quinlisk said about eight or 10 serious listeriosis cases are reported in Iowa each year. She urged Iowans to take precautions to reduce their risk, but she said occasional bacterial outbreaks should not scare people away from the produce aisle.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time