Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said this week that the recent recall of cantaloupes for Listeria, which was initiated after the Microbiological Data Program found the bacteria in a sample, shows that the small produce testing program should not be cut.

MDP identified the contaminated melons just two weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to fund the program through the end of the year.

“Today’s announcement reinforces MDP’s value and the need to continue the program that supports roughly 80 percent of produce sampling in America,” DeLauro said Tuesday. “Just a year after the deadliest outbreak in a decade, it is encouraging that no illnesses have been reported in the latest event. However, we must remain vigilant and invest in the programs and agencies that keep American families safe to prevent an outbreak like last year’s.”

DeLauro, who has vociferously, but unsuccessfully, defended MDP in agriculture appropriations hearings, said the program “helps protect us from foodborne illnesses” and said the recall “is an illustration of how that research helps us all.”

“I want to reiterate my call to the Administration to fund MDP in next year’s budget request, and many years to come,” she said.

Earlier this month the congresswoman sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients asking that he keep MDP funded.