BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. Oscar Hernandez knows about the recent sickness and deaths caused by cantaloupes but the manager of produce at Mrs. Green's Natural Market said the outbreak does not affect his store.
"Our cantaloupes are not affected. We get our cantaloupe from California and they are organic," Hernandez said. "If there were any problem we would take them away."
Bacteria linked to tainted cantaloupes has caused the deadliest food outbreak in the nation in more than a decade.
As many as 16 people have died and more than 70 have fallen ill from a possible listeria outbreak related to cantaloupes, according to a report in USA Today. A report in The Washington Post said the affected fruit comes from Jensen Farms in Colorado. The cantaloupes have been distributed in 17 states, including New York.
The Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday confirmed deaths in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Maryland.
USA Today reported that Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC said the death and illness count could increase in the next few weeks because the symptoms of listeria, the bacteria responsible for the outbreak, sometimes do not manifest until four weeks or more after someone eats food tainted by the bacteria.
Rose Conklin of Buchanan, who was buying peanut butter at Mrs. Green's Natural Market on Friday, said she likes cantaloupe but she hasn't been eating it lately because she heard about the listeria outbreak.
"When I hear about an outbreak, I avoid (the food) until the alert goes away," she said.
Michelle Boyle of Pelham agreed. "When an outbreak of food poisoning occurs, I avoid that food for a long time," she said in a Facebook post. "I will not eat cantaloupes for at least until next summer."
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