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The New York Times reports that federal officials are saying that “a nationwide listeria outbreak that has killed 25 people who ate tainted cantaloupe was probably caused by unsanitary conditions in the packing shed of the Colorado farm where the melons were grown ... Government investigators said that workers had tramped through pools of water where listeria was likely to grow, tracking the deadly bacteria around the shed, which was operated by Jensen Farms, in Granada, Colo. The pathogen was found on a conveyor belt for carrying cantaloupes, a melon drying area and a floor drain, among other places.”

The story goes on: “The farm had passed a food safety audit by an outside contractor just days before the outbreak began. Eric Jensen, a member of the family that runs the farm, said in an e-mail that the auditor had given the packing plant a score of 96 points out of 100.

“F.D.A. officials did not criticize the auditor directly. But Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods, said the agency intended to establish standards for how auditors should be trained and how audits should be conducted.”
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