WASHINGTON (AP) — Outbreaks of listeria and other serious illnesses linked to tainted food are becoming more common, partly because much of what we eat takes a long and winding road from farm to fork.
A cantaloupe grown on a Colorado field may make four or five stops before it reaches the dinner table.
There’s the packing house where it is cleaned and packaged, then the distributor who contracts with retailers to sell the melons in large quantities.
A processor may cut or bag the fruit. The retail distribution center is where the melons are sent out to various stores. Finally it’s stacked on display at the grocery store.
Imported fruits and vegetables, which make up almost two-thirds of the produce consumed in the United States, have an even longer journey.