July 13, 2012 in Health

Colorado cantaloupes return; growers push safety

 
Ed Andrieski photo

Produce manager Nate Codina arranges a display of Rocky Ford cantaloupes at a Denver Kings Soopers market on Friday, July 13, 2012. Colorado cantaloupes are back in supermarkets Friday, and growers of the Rocky Ford melons are going on the offensive to restore the fruit’s reputation a year after Colorado melons caused a deadly nationwide listeria outbreak. Farmers have banded together to trademark the melons and fund a new tracking system to prevent future outbreaks.
(Full-size photo)

GLENDALE, Colo. (AP) — Nearly a year after the nation’s deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in more than two decades, Colorado cantaloupes are back in supermarkets.

Farmers near the town of Rocky Ford are going on the offensive to restore the fruit’s reputation a year after melons from one of the area’s farms caused a nationwide listeria outbreak that killed 30 people.

Farmers have banded together to trademark Rocky Ford melons and fund a new tracking system to prevent future outbreaks, but they must convince buyers that the melons are safe.

From new picking and packing techniques to traceable codes allowing shoppers to see where their cantaloupes came from, farmers in the two southern Colorado counties that produce Rocky Ford melons have spent $800,000 on safety upgrades to restore the fruit’s reputation.


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