Researchers, growers and regulators plan to compare findings from recent outbreaks of listeria and salmonella in cantaloupes in a food safety symposium at Colorado State University.

The April 24 event, “Cantaloupe Safety Symposium: Moving from Response to Prevention,” is also expected to offer insights into proposed regulations that would require federal inspections at farms and packinghouses.

It is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fort Collins, Colo., campus. Attendance is free, according to a news release.

“We’re trying to broaden this to be a farm-to-table approach with food safety,” Marisa Bunning, symposium planner and assistant professor at the university’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said in the release. The idea is to target all aspects of the supply chain to reduce contamination risks.

Scheduled speakers include:


  • Michael Hirakata, co-owner of Hirakata Farms, who helped form the Rocky Ford Growers Association in response to the 2011 listeria outbreak.
  • Lawrence Goodridge, food microbiologist and associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, who helped investigate the pathogens in two cantaloupe outbreaks — Colorado in 2011 and Indiana in 2012.
  • Devin Koontz, public affairs specialist for the Denver district of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who will discuss the FDA’s proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
  • Michael Bartolo, research scientist and manager of the university’s Arkansas Valley Research Center, who researched the 2011 listeria outbreak in Colorado and helped develop food safety strategies for melon growers.
  • Ryan Friedman, regional manager for food safety and quality assurance at Sysco.


Sponsors include the university’s graduate program in Public Health, plus the Center for Food Safety and Prevention of Foodborne Disease within the Colorado School of Public Health.