Make Our Food Safe
10/21/2011

"Listeria-linked cantaloupe farm had rated high in audit"

USA Today | Elizabeth Weise

"The farm whose cantaloupes were behind the nation's deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in 25 years got a top score -- 96% -- from a firm auditing the plant's sanitation practices six days before the first person fell ill.

A consumer advisory about the safety of California cantaloupes hangs in a supermarket in Fresno, Calif.

The rating has once again helped raise questions about the credibility of so-called third-party audits, a practice used increasingly by food sellers who hire auditing companies to check the safety and sanitation of the firms that sell them products and ingredients.

The listeria outbreak that has so far killed 25 people and sickened 123 began on July 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six days before that, Primus Labs of Santa Maria, Calif., gave the Jensen Farms packing house in Granada, Colo. a 'superior' rating."

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