Listeria Outbreak at Jensen Farms in Colorado is being called by the CDC the worst outbreak in a decade. These incidents revolving around contaminated cantaloupe are an unfortunate indication that farms should be considered to be production sites, much like a facility that processes foods. Growing a fruit or vegetable is after all a process. Enforced rules and regulations must be in place to protect consumers from injury. Now, I realize that I am stating the obvious, so what is the solution? I will only offer the first step.
We in the United States must come to realize that we participate in not only an intrastate market but a global one as well. Our food products are sold all over the world and it is time that we Americans are more open to global models surrounding food safety and their application to our farms and processing plants, no matter how small.
If you don’t want to consider it from a safety standpoint, look at it from an economic one. Our supply of food outside of our borders is the best negotiating tool that we have as a country. We don’t want to make it undesirable and lose that advantage.