According to reports,

Jensen Farms, of Holly, CO is voluntarily recalling their shipments of Rocky Ford whole cantaloupe because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria.

So far, the Colorado cantaloupes are linked to four deaths and 16 cases of Listeria, a potentially deadly bacterial infection.

One farm: 4 deaths, 16 cases of deadly bacteria, recalled from 17 states.

How can one farm in Colorado cause potential injury in IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA. Why in the world is Tennessee or Texas or North Carolina importing cantaloupes from Colorado, any ways? Can’t they grow their own?

A sane food agricultural system would not tolerate such a preposterous situation. Explain how it is more economic and efficient, all factors considered, to  transport cantaloupes over 475 miles from Colorado when those states have an abundant capacity to grow these fruit themselves.

BTW: This is not the most extreme example of dysfunction concerning cantaloupes. An earlier recall this year involved fruits imported from overseas. Forget a few hundred miles, try thousands of miles by plane or ship.

“A few months ago the CDC, and 10 state epidemiologists, linked 20 ill people infected with Salmonella Panama from Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (1) and Washington (5) to Del Monte imported cantaloupe.

UPDATE 9/18/2011: Seven deaths among as many as 49 illnesses are being investigated and may be linked to Listeria-tainted cantaloupes traced to Jensen Farms in Holly, CO, according to a review of state health department websites and media reports this weekend.