In the wake of a Listeria outbreak that sickened at least 146 people nationally, killing 32 of them (including Sharon Jones, a Marler Clark client who died the evening of January 29), cantaloupe trade associations have promised new cantaloupe food safety rules by the end of July, just in time for the 2012 crop of Colorado cantaloupes.
According to The Packer, The timetable for new commodity-specific food safety guidance for cantaloupe was announced less than a month after a crisis-inspired meeting of the cantaloupe industry in San Diego on Jan. 11.
Meeting in the wake of the listeria foodborne illness outbreak of 2011, leaders of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assocation, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, Produce Marketing Association, Texas Produce Association, United Fresh Produce Association and Western Growers agreed to work together on developing cantaloupe safety guidance and education.
The trade association created two committees. One is focused on cantaloupe food safety guidance and the other on extension, education and communication to growers.
The steering committe on guidance will have monthly meetings March-June to address operations throughout the supply chain and consider the diverse regions and growing processes for cantaloupes throughout the US.