I love watching “The Deadliest Catch” when I ever watch T.V.   The thought of working in freezing weather in 30-foot swells catching crab for rich people has certain flair to it.  The risk is palpable – food meets death.  However, I am not so certain that the popular “Rocky Ford” cantaloupe could sustain an audience.  Really, how much risk can a cantaloupe have?

Well, apparently way too much.

The CDC as of September 21 listed eight deaths linked to Jensen Farms and Frontera Listeria-tainted cantaloupe from 14 states: 2 in Colorado, 1 in Maryland, 4 in New Mexico, and 1 in Oklahoma.

According to the FDA, cantaloupes were shipped to at least 25 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

What I expect the CDC to confirm Monday or Tuesday is at least 12 deaths: Colorado: 2 deaths, Kansas: 2 deaths, Maryland: 1 death, Missouri: 1 death, Nebraska: 1 death, New Mexico: 4 deaths and Oklahoma: 1 death.

And, here is a bit of history about deaths in foodborne illness outbreaks:

Jalisco’s Listeria Outbreak

January 1985

Vehicle: cheese

Number ill: 86

Deaths: 29

Bil Mar Foods Ready-to-eat Meats Listeria Outbreak

January 1998

Vehicle: deli and cured meats


Number ill: 108

Deaths: 14

Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) Salmonella Outbreak

September 2008

Vehicle:  Peanuts and peanut butter

Number ill: 716

Deaths: 9

Pilgrim’s Pride Listeria Outbreak

July 2002

Vehicle: deli meats

Number ill: 54

Deaths: 8

Dole Brand Natural Selections Bagged Spinach E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

August 2006

Vehicle: spinach

Number ill: 238

Deaths: 5

SanGar Produce Listeria Outbreak

January 2010

Vehicle: celery

Number ill: 10

Deaths: 5

Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

November 1992

Vehicle: ground beef

Number ill: 708

Deaths: 4

Chi Chi’s Hepatitis A Outbreak

October 2003

Vehicle: green onions

Number ill: 660

Deaths: 4