Two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want a congressional hearing on the listeria outbreak that has been linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado.
The committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who is the ranking Democrat on the committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, filed their request Oct. 3.
Staff in the committee office could not immediately be reached for comment on when a decision would be made on whether to schedule a hearing or investigation.
In their letter to committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and subcommittee chairman Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., DeGette and Waxman say that they want to know more about the outbreak that is now blamed for 18 deaths and 100 infections in 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DeGette and Waxman say they want to learn about the causes of the outbreak and find ways for the produce industry and the Food and Drug Administration to prevent future outbreaks.
The two representatives also ask the subcommittee to obtain a long list of documents related to the outbreak, including:
- when and where the listeria was first detected;
- a description of how and when Jensen Farms officials first became aware of the contamination;
- names of all customers that the farm has provided cantaloupes to in the past 12 months;
- dates of when Jensen Farms notified customers about the possible contamination and copies of all correspondence;
- all inspection records relating to Jensen Farms facilities, including FDA, USDA, state, county and local inspections;
- all documents relating to allegations of listeria or other contamination involving cantaloupes or other products; documents showing Jensen Farms internal protocols and standards for monitoring and analysis of its products;
- documents showing the dates and results of all instances of monitoring or analysis that yielded positive results for microbiological contamination;
- all communications from FDA, USDA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding any inspections of Jensen Farms facilities or possible listeria contamination of any food products; and
- all communications among Jensen Farms personnel relating to possible listeria contamination of the company’s materials, products, facilities or farms.