May 3rd, 2012
02:00 PM ET
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For more on CNN's investigation of September's historic and deadly Listeria outbreak watch "CNN Presents" this Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

On a sunny morning early last September, Susanna Gaxiola fed her husband a healthy breakfast of fresh cantaloupe in their Albuquerque, New Mexico, home. Her husband, Rene, a Pentecostal pastor and minister, had been fighting a rare blood cancer and he was eating fresh cantaloupe and other fruit daily.

Around the same time, Paul Schwarz ate fresh cantaloupe in his home in Independence, Missouri. Though 92 years old, Schwarz was still active and healthy, and ate fresh fruit often. And Dr. Mike Hauser, a podiatrist, also ate fresh cantaloupe with his family in Monument, Colorado. Hauser, 68, had been fighting myeloma, a blood cancer, but he was recovering well, even planning a bow-hunting trip in the mountains.

Within days or weeks of eating the cantaloupe, all three men became horribly sick, and all eventually died painful deaths. Their deaths were directly caused by the cantaloupe, which was contaminated with the deadly bacteria Listeria, according to health officials.

Read - Third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable, experts say

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Filed under: Food Safety • Fruits • Health News • Listeria • News • Recalls • Tainted Food

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. April Ward - California Leafy Greens

    Unfortunately this report fails to recognize any of the efforts that exist throughout the produce industry to ensure the safety of fruits and vegetables. Groups such as the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) have invited government inspectors into their fields to provide oversight and verification that science-based food safety practices are being followed. The LGMA is not the only produce group to have taken this approach. Government audit programs are currently in place for Arizona leafy greens, California and Florida tomatoes and, in fact, a group of cantaloupe farmers from the Rocky Ford growing area in Colorado have recently announced a new program using Colorado Department of Agriculture inspectors to provide verification of safety practices. All of this is being done in the interest of protecting public health to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks from happening. No one benefits when people are sickened by eating produce. Read more here:

    May 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  2. Jeff

    I think we may have gotten one of those mysteriously went blooted and bad...right after we bought it...

    May 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  3. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Eat right, work out, don't drink, don't smoke. Die anyway.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Madonna

      You forgot the part about loose women.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
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