LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Liz Alfieri will be paying more attention to where the fruit she eats comes from after learning cantaloupe from Jensen Farms has been linked to a listeria outbreak that the Centers for Disease Control confirmed has caused as many as 16 deaths in eight states.
"You go to the store and buy fruit, but you don't look at the package to see where it's from," said Alfieri, owner of Larchmont Florists on Chatsworth Avenue.
The Hawthorne resident said she loves cantaloupe, but plans on staying away from it.
Bacteria linked to tainted cantaloupes has caused the deadliest food outbreak in the nation in more than a decade.
As many as 16 people have died and more than 70 have fallen ill from a possible listeria outbreak related to cantaloupes, according to a report in USA Today. The affected fruit comes from Colorado. A report in The Washington Post said the fruit comes from Jensen Farms in that state.
Pat Baker, a San Francisco, Calif. resident visiting her daughter in Larchmont, bought a cantaloupe from Trader Joe's Friday. But, after learning of the listeria outbreak, decided she would throw it away.
Another Trader Joe's shopper also decided to err on the side of caution Friday."Usually, Trader Joe's is very specific about their distributors, but I'm going to wait until the next season to buy it," said Connie Mui-Reilly, whose daughter Katy loves cantaloupe.
Allison Mochizuki, of Trader Joe's public relations, didn't return a call for comment.
The Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday confirmed deaths in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Maryland.
USA Today reported that Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC said the death and illness count could increase in the next few weeks because the symptoms of listeria, the bacteria responsible for the outbreak, sometimes do not manifest until four weeks or more after someone eats food tainted by the bacteria.
"It's kind of scary," Alfieri said.
Listeria mainly affects the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC website. Symptoms include a fever and muscle aches, sometimes followed by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.