Today the F.D.A. said the latest outbreak is yet another reason to fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The act was signed into law on Jan. 4, but when the F.D.A.'s budget was slashed by the U.S. House of Representatives, it became unclear how the agency would pay for a new, modernized food safety inspection process.
"We're going to take these lessons learned, share that with our partners and industries, CDC and the states, and what we want to do is we want to really prevent this from happening in the future," McGarry said of the listeria investigation.
Listeria can cause fever, neck stiffness, confusion and vomiting, according to the CDC. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of developing serious symptoms. Listeria is especially dangerous during pregnancy and can infect the newborn or lead to premature delivery.
Although there have been other listeria outbreaks in recent years, this is the first one attributed to whole cantaloupes, according to the FDA.