An Avoidable Death: Why We Need Strong Food-Safety Standards

U.S. veteran Paul A. Schwarz, Jr. died from eating a piece of cantaloupe in a fruit cup—all because of a lack of food-safety protections.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Paul F. Schwarz, Independence, Missouri: If you're selling food in the public, you ought to do it the right way, follow the regulations, don't do any shortcuts, because that means life or death to people.

My father's name is Paul A. Schwarz, Jr. He was a great guy; he was my best friend; he was my golfing partner.

Mom and dad would share, after church, they would go to a restaurant, they would order their breakfast, they would also order a fruit cup; in the fruit cup was listeria-contaminated cantaloupe. Dad ate it, he started feeling ill, my sister took him the doctor and they said, well, it's flu.

His condition just got worse, and on December 18, 2011, he died of complications from listeriosis.

We found out that he had one of the strains of listeria from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado. They were processing the cantaloupe, trying to do it without a chlorine-based wash. They tried to cut corners, and they ended up killing 37 people by my count, and sickened 147.

All because of their lack of regulations, the lack of following common procedures in the industry, and pure negligence.

I learned that there wasn't a lot of inspections going on, I mean probably virtually none. It's just mind-boggling that you could sell food to the public and not have somebody come on your property and conduct an inspection of your, you know, a government entity.

This man gave everything for his country, and, eats a piece of cantaloupe and ends up dying.

Food safety should be paramount in our country. End of story.

It's the United States of America, we're better than that.

We're much better than that.


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