DENVER - Federal regulators are offering help to state inspectors, warning cantaloupe farmers and packers that they will be testing melons for pathogens this year after two years of illness and recalls.
The warnings were issued Monday following a deadly listeria outbreak traced to Colorado's Jensen Farms in 2011. That outbreak left 33 people dead and forced Jensen farms to file for bankruptcy.
Another outbreak last year was traced to salmonella at an Indiana cantaloupe packer.
The Denver Post reports the Food and Drug Administration does not routinely target an industry for scrutiny, and inspectors usually check smaller farms or food packers once every few years.
Often criticized for being slow or unable to prevent these food-borne illness outbreaks, the FDA says it will now visit growers, assess current practices and identify unsanitary conditions.