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Growers Push Cantaloupe Safety After Listeria Deaths

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cantaloupes 1 Growers Push Cantaloupe Safety After Listeria Deaths

(credit: rockyfordmelon.com)

GLENDALE, Colo. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Colorado cantaloupe growers are promoting new safeguards as Rocky Ford melons return to grocery stores a year after a deadly listeria outbreak killed 30 people, including two in North Texas.

Farmers near the Colorado town of Rocky Ford are trying to restore the sweet melon’s reputation. They have banded together to trademark the melons and fund a new $800,000 tracking system to prevent future outbreaks.

A new group called the Rocky Ford Growers Association is also promoting safe-handling techniques on the social media sites Facebook and Pinterest.

The farmers say they’re trying to salvage a crop decimated by sales declines after last fall’s outbreak. They say only 30 percent of the area melon fields have been planted this year.

Several lawsuits, including one filed by the family of an elderly Dallas county woman, are still pending against the farm identified as the source of the outbreak.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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