You may have heard about recent illnesses and two deaths linked to cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana. I am very concerned to learn about the severity of this outbreak. My heart goes out to those affected and their loved ones.
All of agriculture and the food-supply chain have a responsibility to protect people from food-borne illness, and I am determined to do all I can as secretary to accomplish that to the best of our ability. The key is a commitment to continual improvement. We have that in California – in the past twenty years, there has not been one illness linked to California cantaloupe. California continues to lead the nation in food safety enforcement and sound agricultural practices.
Over the last year, California cantaloupe farmers have formed a marketing order that includes mandatory government inspection of farms and packing facilities to verify compliance with stringent food safety standards.
CDFA has partnered with the Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis to continue groundbreaking research on food safety. Through continued research and scientific inquiry, California is committed to maintaining its strong record on food safety.
There are few things more important, more fundamental, than a safe and secure food system. The strength of California’s food system, and the confidence it inspires, is rooted in decades of dedicated, regulatory enforcement at the state and local levels and a consistent commitment to safety by California’s farmers and ranchers.