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FDA cites dirty equipment in cantaloupe outbreak

By MARY CLARE JALONICK
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says the deadly listeria outbreak in cantaloupe was probably caused by pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean packing equipment at a Colorado farm.

The agency said Wednesday that contamination at the packing facility at Jensen Farms is likely to blame for the outbreak that killed 25 people in a dozen states. Investigators found positive listeria samples on equipment and fruit there.

The FDA said Jensen Farms had recently purchased used equipment that was corroded and hard to clean. The agency said the way the cantaloupes were cooled after coming off the fields may have also contributed to listeria growth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak sickened 123 people.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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