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 21, 2014 | NPR · The election pits interim President Moncef Marzouki against challenger Beji Caid Essebsi, who held a post in the ousted regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
 

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · On CNN’s State of the Union, the president expanded on earlier remarks he made criticizing a decision by Sony Pictures to pull distribution of The Interview.
 

Aurora Almendral for NPR
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Rellenong manok is a deboned chicken filled with a jumble of ingredients. If it seems hard to pin down how this dish got all its fillings, it’s because of the complexity of the Philippines’ culture.
 

Arts & Life

December 21, 2014 | KUNC · The latest movie from filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne stars Marion Cotillard as a young mother who fights to keep from getting screwed over by her colleagues at work.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · Sony has canceled its new film, The Interview, which depicts the assassination of North Korea’s leader. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks with filmmaker Kevin Smith about writing controversial comedies.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · Cooper worked closely with Taya Kyle to turn her late husband’s book, about his time as a Navy SEAL, into a film. “We all felt him the whole time we were shooting the movie,” Cooper says.
 

Music

December 21, 2014 | NPR · In the 1960s, the Beatles sent their most loyal fans a Christmas gift every year — a flexi-disc. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to music writer Colin Fleming about the annual holiday single.
 

Redferns via Getty Images
December 21, 2014 | NPR · If we’re being honest, there was no consensus in R&B this year. Too many things happened, and we missed some ground-hugging gems, even a couple made by legends. These are ten of those.
 

KCRW
December 21, 2014 | KCRW · The singer and guitarist revisits “Hi-Fi,” from his much-loved breakthrough album, Transistor Radio.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab