The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Friday that the number of fatalities due to the cantaloupe listeria outbreak in Colorado has risen to fifteen. At least 84 people have been sick due to listeria.
Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver has expressed that she will call for a congressional hearing regarding the outbreak that will have a two-fold objective: to highlight successes in tracing the source of the outbreak, as well as to come up with better tools to prevent such an outbreak from recurring. In addition, a hearing may also help â€œclear the airâ€ for other Colorado and national growers who feel that they had been unfairly impacted by the recall.
Rep. DeGette herself had bought the now recalled cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, and received a King Soopers robocall to get rid of it.
The state of Colorado received a â€œBâ€ grade from the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for its outbreak reporting and investigations. A tally of all the outbreaks over the last ten years indicated that investigators in Colorado were able to solve 170 out of 272 food illness outbreaks. Carolyn Smith DeWaal of CSPI shared that the only states to receive â€œAâ€ grades were Minnesota and Oregon, although Coloradoâ€™s reporting has already improved.
Colorado is among ten states that receive funding for FoodNet, a surveillance program for food-borne illnesses, from the CDC. The program assists in the quick identification of multi-state outbreaks.