Federal food inspectors will start checking cantaloupe farms and other processing facilities throughout the country and here in Colorado for deadly food borne bacteria. As KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports, the increased scrutiny is in direct response to two large-scale outbreaks.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Both outbreaks were tied directly to tainted cantaloupe. Salmonella on melons from Indiana and listeria on some from Colorado killed 36 people. The repercussions were felt by cantaloupe growers throughout the country, including Michael Hirakata in Colorado’s Arkansas River valley.

“There was so much uncertainty, we didn’t know if we were even going to grow cantaloupe anymore.”

Since the 2011 outbreak, farmers like Hirakata have taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Within the past year, he changed the way he washes the melons and hired a full-time food safety manager. Federal inspectors will soon see the changes up close at melon farms in 15 states.

Devin Koontz is a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration.

“Should we find something that compels us to take regulatory action, of course we’ll have to take it.”

That action could include mandatory recalls If large amounts of bacteria are found.

 

Comments are closed.

News

AP
December 14, 2017 | KHN · Advocates for single-payer health care in the U.S. often look to Canada as a model. But some American doctors practicing there wonder whether the U.S. is ready to call health care a right.
 

The Kremlin
December 14, 2017 | NPR · “They undermine their own nation,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of President Trump’s American critics. The news conference went on for nearly four hours.
 

December 14, 2017 | NPR · Also: An aid group says thousands of Myanmar Rohingya Muslims were murdered in a month; Roy Moore won’t concede the Alabama senate election he lost; and awards for the funniest wildlife photos return.
 

Arts & Life

Getty Images for Culture Creators
December 14, 2017 | NPR · The Girl’s Trip actress has had what seems like a meteoric rise over the last year: a blockbuster movie, a gig hosting Saturday Night Live, and now a new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn.
 

December 13, 2017 | NPR · Variety reports Smiley had sexual relationships with subordinates who were afraid their jobs were on the line. Smiley is the second PBS talk show host suspended in the wake of misconduct allegations.
 

December 13, 2017 | NPR · A review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest in the intergalactic franchise. Fans are especially excited to see what happens to General Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, who died earlier this year.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
December 14, 2017 | NPR · Five out of these 10 records are debuts — a statistic that fits perfectly in the spirit of finding new music to fall in love with this year.
 

Getty Images
December 14, 2017 | NPR · On Wednesday evening, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times published accusations of rape and other sexual assaults that allegedly took place between the 1980s and 2014.
 

AFP/Getty Images
December 14, 2017 | NPR · Thursday’s vote at the agency is expected to undo Obama-era regulations that prohibit cable and telecom companies from blocking access to websites and apps, or influencing how fast they load.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab