Dole Fresh Vegetables announced Monday that the company is voluntarily issuing a precautionary recall of 1,077 cases of bagged salads due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported in association with the product.
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.
Unsanitary conditions at a Colorado cantaloupe farm's packing facility are a possible contributing cause of one of the nation's worst outbreaks of listeria contamination in food, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a Centers for Disease Control official said it is too early to declare the outbreak over, but the number of new cases appeared to be diminishing.
"The peak in illnesses appears to have occurred from late August until the middle of September," said Dr. Barbara Mahon of the CDC, who added that additional monitoring will be needed for at least another two weeks.
The FDA said it was unable to pinpoint the definitive cause of the outbreak, which has been linked to 25 deaths so far.
An outbreak of illness linked to consumption of tainted cantaloupes has been linked to 13 deaths and 72 illnesses in 18 states, a federal disease agency reported Wednesday.
The outbreak - blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes - was first reported September 12, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 15 people in four states had been infected. The illnesses were traced to consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms' fields in Granada, Colorado.
The deaths reported as of Tuesday morning occurred in Colorado (two), Kansas (one), Maryland (one), Missouri (one), Nebraska (one), New Mexico (four), Oklahoma (one), and Texas (two).
Read the full story: "Cantaloupe-related outbreak of illness linked to 13 deaths"