Could it be that the Jensen Farms LM outbreak will be traced to contaminated irrigation water?
Looks like the Arkansas river is the irrigation source for this entire farming region through a series of diversion canals and ditches. We also have to remember that pesticides are also applied using surface water sources in some regions.
For some great pictures of water usage in this region see:
I offer this theory because the low flow rates of the river due to the drought conditions in this region, and the access of the water source to all sorts of animal vectors is a very likely exposure pathway for LM.
For a look at NOAA drought conditions reporting in this region see:
The growing region is in Prowers County, in extreme southeastern Colorado.
Given the wide spread of cases over time, this points to pre-harvest contamination, as opposed to post-harvest contamination. Although its been reported that LM was found in the production areas of the packing operation, such may have been introduced through contaminated incoming products.
For the latest from CDC and the report on LM findings from the facility see:
I hope we get the details of this investigation. If drip irrigation is used, and there is little exposure to irrigation water except through the roots, then my theory is less plausible.
In spite of what some people have said about the Del Monte Salmonella cantaloupe outbreak, knowing the cause of outbreaks does help prevention efforts in the future.
We have heard the retail industry insist that more must be done by the growers to prevent these events.
If we are to do more, we need to know what.