A new resource, "The National Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons," is now available to help companies that grow, harvest, sort, pack, process or ship cantaloupes in developing production practices that address risk and minimize microbial hazards.
The guidance offers a comprehensive framework for ensuring the highest level of food safety in cantaloupe production. It is applicable for companies of all sizes and the use of all production practices, from primary production to the packing and transport of fresh cantaloupes.
The free document is available for download here. More information about the development of the guidance can be found at www.cantaloupe-guidance.org.
Companies involved in the production, harvesting, packing, cooling, storage and transport of fresh, uncut cantaloupes are strongly encouraged to use this guidance to develop their own specific preventive food safety programs and practices, industry leaders said.
The guidance is the result of a yearlong collaboration among a broad coalition of committed industry and academic experts, government scientists and regulators.
Hank Giclas, senior vice president of Science, Technology and Strategic Planning for Western Growers Association, took a lead role in development of the guidance. The facilitating team also included the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, the Produce Marketing Association, and United Fresh Produce Association.
"We brought 12 to 60 individual industry, academic, government and other experts from 20 states and several countries together in virtual meetings for 26 weeks to discuss, develop and perfect this National Cantaloupe Guidance," Giclas says. "It's a remarkable example of industry leadership, commitment to food safety and collaborative spirit.