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
March 2, 2015 | NPR · The near-record winter is testing a longtime Boston tradition of allowing residents to save a parking space they shoveled out 48 hours. The problem is that the snow hasn’t stopped falling.
 

NPR
March 2, 2015 | NPR · For this week’s Sandwich Monday, we try a new twist on a classic. It’s a corn dog that uses funnel cake in place of corn meal to encase a hot dog.
 

iStockphoto
March 2, 2015 | NPR · People who walked briskly for 40 minutes five days a week saw more health improvements than those who walked for an hour a day but were more leisurely about it. Both groups lost weight.
 

Arts & Life

NPR
March 2, 2015 | NPR · For this week’s Sandwich Monday, we try a new twist on a classic. It’s a corn dog that uses funnel cake in place of corn meal to encase a hot dog.
 

March 2, 2015 | NPR · Offutt’s late father went from running a small insurance agency to writing more than 400 books, mostly pornography. The writer tells Fresh Air his dad believed he would be “extremely famous” for it.
 

Warner Bros.
March 2, 2015 | NPR · Will Smith plays a con man in Focus, but unfortunately, the woman playing opposite him has depressingly little to do.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
March 2, 2015 | WXPN · Hear the alt-country band play songs off their new album and talk about their transition to pop.
 

Emily Berl for NPR
March 2, 2015 | NPR · “I made a promise to myself,” says the Detroit rapper. “I would never ever not follow my heart again. That way if I rise or fall, sink or swim, it’s by my own choice and my own decisions.”
 

WXPN
March 2, 2015 | WXPN · The musicians who made the score for the Netflix series discuss their recording process.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab