Schaffner speaks: why didn’t more people get sick from listeria in cantaloupes

Don Schaffner, a food scientist with Rutgers University (right, not exactly as shown, in his early years) told NPR that, "Probably a lot of people ate this cantaloupe. And a lot of people probably ate lots of (bacterial cells of) listeria. … The bacteria come in and in many cases, they’ll die in the stomach.”

But when acid in the stomach is altered, studies find that people seem to be more susceptible. For instance, taking medicines to reduce acid reflux appears to increase the risk of stomach bugs.

"We do know that people who eat a lot of antacids or who are taking proton pump inhibitors are at higher risk of food poisoning.”

Schaffner also said when you buy cantaloupes and other fresh food, don’t wait too long to eat it.

"One of the interesting things about listeria is that even in the refrigerator, the organism will grow and multiply."