California cantaloupe handlers have voted “overwhelmingly” in support of a new food safety program, in an effort to improve consumer confidence in the safety of cantaloupes.
The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board voted in support of the new food safety program, less than a year after the Jensen Farms-associated Listeria outbreak in the US.
A total of 146 people across 28 states were infected and 30 died during the outbreak, which took place between September and December 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
A further five deaths have been unofficially attributed to the outbreak.
“California cantaloupes have never been associated with a foodborne illness, yet the industry is unanimously in favour of a food safety program that will provide an additional layer of assurance for consumers that our product is safe,” said the chairman of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board.
“This program will formalize 20 years of food safety leadership by the California cantaloupe industry.”
California cantaloupe handlers produce 70% of the cantaloupes grown in the US.