Cantaloupe washing rules ‘ambiguous’

It’s doubtful charges will ever be laid against Colorado-based Jensens Farms and its owners, the source of a cantaloupe listeria outbreak that killed 29 people last year, according to an article in the Denver Post newspaper.

The story says the Jensens had purchased a used potato sorting machine in 2011 to clean melons after harvesting, believing it was an improvement on a previous system. The Jensens also stopped using antibacterial agents in the one-pass washing system.

However, the machine allowed water to pool dangerously, spreading the listeria, says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A private auditor had criticized the system, but did not suggest it be changed.

Better Farming - February 2012