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CSU Cantaloupe Symposium Focuses On Safety

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Cantaloupe (credit: CBS)

Cantaloupe (credit: CBS)

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- The listeria outbreak in Colorado cantaloupe was at the center of a food safety symposium at Colorado State University on Wednesday.

The focus of the symposium was to move from response to prevention as part of CSU’s work in food safety.

The symposium was designed for farmers, researchers, students and public health professionals.

“There is a need to continue to ask the required questions regarding how these cantaloupes are becoming contaminated and then to have workshops such as this where we can get together, put our heads together and come up with solutions,” said CSU Microbiologist and associate professor Larry Goodridge.

In a 2011 outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe that claimed 33 lives, FDA inspectors found pools of dirty water on the floor and old, dirty processing equipment at Jensen Farms in Colorado where the cantaloupes were grown.

“If one looks at the outbreaks there are common themes. That includes things that can be done during production to reduce the risks of contamination. We also know that education is important, education for both the producers and growers but also for consumers who would buy and eat the cantaloupe,” said Goodridge.

Goodridge specializes in the development of novel methods to detect and control the spread of dangerous foodborne pathogens. He assisted state and federal investigators in tracking the 2011 listeria outbreak.

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