On Sept. 9, 2011, reports first surfaced of an outbreak of Listeria linked to cantaloupe – known as rock melons in Australia — grown in Colorado. Already two were dead and seven others sick.
By the end of the outbreak, 33 people were killed and at least 140 sickened.
On Aug. 17, 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced an outbreak of Salmonella linked to cantaloupe that ultimately killed three people and sickened 270 in 26 states.
In Australia, a third death has now been linked to the Listeria-in-rockmelon outbreak, and the number of sick people has risen to 12.
Already, an Australian rockmelon grower is saying “misinformation” about the listeria outbreak will have a negative impact on growers.
The only misinformation – or fake news – is the lack of information to regain consumer confidence and trust.
Sadly, the number of dead and sick will probably grow, because Listeria has an incubation period of up to six weeks. The melon you ate five weeks ago could make you sick with listeriosis tomorrow.
This is not misinformation, it’s biology.
A table (that needs to be updated) of cantaloupe-or-rockmelon-related outbreaks is available here.