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Report: Costco calls for more attention to cantaloupe safety

Retailer suggests stronger protocols for preventing contamination amid deadly outbreak

NEW YORK — Costco Wholesale is calling on the farms that grow cantaloupes and the companies that ship them to be more vigilant in preventing contamination amid one of the deadliest outbreaks of foodborne disease in recent history, according to published reports.

The New York Times quoted Costco food safety head Craig Wilson as saying the cantaloupe industry needed to change its ways, noting that Costco is regarded for its expertise in food safety. Wilson said the Issaquah, Wash.-based retailer would probably require testing of melons for pathogens and that the industry should find new ways to remove contaminants.

On Sept. 14, Granada, Colo.-based Jensen Farms recalled its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes following a multistate outbreak of listeriosis, a deadly disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. On Sept. 19, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of the bacteria in samples of the cantaloupes. Since then, 72 people have become sick and 13 have died.

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