Cantaloupes are safe to eat but people still arent buying them

POSTED: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 4:48pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

BRYAN -- The tainted melons pulled from grocery store shelves more than a month ago are still killing people today.

The Center for Disease Control confirms two more people have died from the outbreak, bringing the total number of deaths to 25 and even though the cantaloupes in stores now are okay to eat, local businesses tell us people aren't buying it.

This recent Listeria contamination is the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the U.S. since 1998. A dozen states have been affected, including Texas, and 123 people got sick.

 And while the Colorado cantaloupes have been pulled from stores, sales are not what they used to be.

"People are still just frightened of cantaloupes."  

Justin Weaver, the produce manager at Village Foods in Bryan, says he's had to cut his orders in half and reduce prices but even that's not helping.

"Honestly about 75 percent of them will go bad. I'll try to use them in cantaloupe cups. I'll try to use what I can out of them."

Mike Marino, from the Farm Patch in Bryan, says they've been experiencing the same problems.

"Well anytime you have a product that has a problem with it everybody gets a little leery with it so I can see where people would still be scared of even these cantaloupes."

Cantaloupes that come from California are safe to eat but shoppers say it makes them nervous to buy them when so many people are still getting sick.

"I presume it'd be all right but I would like to wait I think for at least a week or a month after so nobody else gets sick," said Sheila Habarta.

But some admit they aren't too worried.

"If I know where it comes from then I don't mind eating it. I have some in my refrigerator right now that came from either Arizona or California so it doesn't bother me," said Ellen Bond.

Even though the melons are safe to eat now, health officials say the number of illnesses may still grow because it can take up to two months for symptoms of Listeria to appear.


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