Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Highlights Need for Strong Food Safety Programs

Media Contacts
Nasima Hossain


Washington, D.C. – Statement of Nasima Hossain, U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate, on the Salmonella cantaloupe outbreak.

“The deadly Salmonella outbreak linked to Indiana-grown cantaloupe in 20 states is just the latest in a series of foodborne catastrophes that underscores the need to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. It also highlights the importance of continued funding for the Microbiological Data Program, which supports roughly eighty percent of produce sampling in the U.S. and identified the diseased cantaloupes.  This program currently only has funding for this year.”

“The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish new food safety rules, including new standards for growing fruits and vegetables. Those rules were originally intended to come out at the beginning of 2012, but eight months later we are still waiting for these rules to be released.”

“147 people have been made sick and two people have died from this latest cantaloupe outbreak. How many more deaths and illnesses do we have to see before these rules are released and before funding for the Microbiological Data Program is kept intact?”

“President Obama’s administration needs to finalize the food safety rules immediately. Meanwhile, Congress needs to maintain full funding for critical food safety testing programs.”