Careful with the cantaloupes! Though no cases have been reported in New York, yet, the CDC says that as many as 16 people have died from listeria-related illnesses traced to cantaloupes grown in Colorado, making it the deadliest food-related outbreak in more than a decade.

In addition to 13 confirmed deaths and three under investigation, officials say that 72 people have reportedly grown ill because of the bad melons. That makes this a far more deadly outbreak than the salmonella poisoning tied to peanuts that occurred nearly three years ago. The last major listeria outbreak occurred in 1998 when 21 people died due to contaminated hot dogs and, possibly, deli meats.

The problem with listeria is that it has a long incubation period. "People who ate a contaminated food two weeks ago or even a week ago could still be falling sick weeks later," explained Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC. Worse, it can grow at room temperatures and in refrigerators, so if you are worried about a melon you've got the FDA recommends you throw it out immediately and sanitize any surface it might have touched (feeling paranoid yet?). "Symptoms of listeria include fever and muscle aches, often with other gastrointestinal symptoms. Victims often become incapacitated and unable to speak."

So far the CDC has reported listera-related illnesses and deaths in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The outbreak has been traced to the Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado, which recalled 300,000 cases of its tainted melons earlier this month. The FDA is still investigating how the outbreak occurred but notes that if you are eating cantaloupes you probably want to be wary of ones labeled "Colorado Grown," "Distributed by Frontera Produce," "" or "Sweet Rocky Fords" (though not all of the recalled cantaloupes are labeled with a sticker).