Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Stearns:

We are the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children of some of the 109 people from 24 states whose lives have ended, or been permanently and grievously transformed, because they ate contaminated cantaloupes grown and sold by Jensen Farms. We write to you today to echo Representative Waxman and DeGette’s request for an investigation and hearing regarding the recent cantaloupe Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, and ask that you consider this additional request, from us—the consumers, the victims, and the families of many who remain too ill to speak or are simply not among us anymore.

As you know, this outbreak has now become the nation’s deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in more than a decade. At least 21 people have died as a result of eating cantaloupe. Some of us know the pain of these deaths first hand, and some of us are still caring for family members who remain hospitalized with uncertain prognoses. With the number of Listeria outbreak victims increasing weekly, you can be certain that more families will join our ranks before this outbreak is finally over.

Like victims of prior foodborne illness outbreaks traced to foods such as spinach, peanuts, and eggs, we seek answers to this tragedy. It is our hope that through public hearings involving the grower and distributor of these Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes and investigators from the public health community, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, your committee can shed some light on the origins of this foodborne illness outbreak and provide the cantaloupe industry with information necessary to prevent outbreaks from occurring in the future.

Very Truly Yours,

  • Gustaaf van der Feltz

    The Hague, Netherlands, October 10th 2011
    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Re: An approved processing aid against Listeria
    On the internet I read that Cantaloupes would likely be contaminated with Listeria and were partly recalled from the shops..
    I am writing to you because I am a former listeriosis patient. Luckily I had a strong enough immune system so I did not die, but I was very, very sick!
    I gather you do not know of the product called LISTEX. Listex is a safe (FDA approved as GRAS = Generally Recognised as Safe) phage preparation produced by the Dutch company Micreos Food Safety in Wageningen. (See link: . ) It is also approved as a processing aid by Health Canada and in many other countries. It is a natural and relatively inexpensive product, much cheaper than destructing a great lot of your products or having to worry night and day about possible product contaminations with Listeria or the bad reputation you can get in your business. A great amount of advertising money down the drain! Above that a lot of investing to save your revenue!
    Micreos’ website is: . In my view it is worthwhile to contact them. They are working worldwide. On the site you will see how it works. The product can also be used on all organic products (OMRI listed), it is effective against only Listeria (leaving even the ‘good’ bacteria in place), and has no effect on any other food properties (color, odor, texture, taste).
    It could also be valuable for a company to use Listex, because it is an approved and effective measure against Listeria monocytogenes and every food producer can use it. Because of the high risk associated with Listeria, if the company does not take measures against it, they could expose themself to liability. Sadly, more than 400 deaths in the US and Canada underscore this!
    Listex is very well known in the food business, it was honoured with the gold award of the Food Ingredients Europe.
    Contacting can mean the salvage of your company. And also can save many deaths and illnesses like mine!
    To be precise: I am NOT on the pay list of Micreos Food Safety, I am just working to ban the Listeria bacteria. I do not want other people to suffer from listeriose like I did.
    May I ask you your opinion on how to ban Listeriose on my e-mail
    Thank you in advance!
    Gustaaf van der Feltz ( )