A new edition of food safety guidance for cantaloupes is expected by the end of July.

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 out break of 2011, leaders of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, 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, according to a news release.

The trade associations created two committees. One is focused on cantaloupe food safety guidance and the other on extension, education and communication to growers.

The food safety committee members are:

  • Allison Moore, communications director of FPAA;
  • Bob Whitaker, chief science and technology officer for PMA;
  • David Gombas, senior vice president, food safety & technology at United Fresh; and
  • Hank Giclas, senior vice president, strategic planning, science & technology for Western Growers.

“The real work is going to come from industry coming together and really putting forward their ideas and thoughts,” Moore said.

The steering committee 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 U.S., according to the release. The document created by the end of July won’t necessarily be the last word on cantaloupe safety, Moore said.

“The whole point of the plan is that you are always looking at it and updating it,” she said.

The extension and education committee members are:

  • Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia association;
  • John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association;
  • Martha Roberts, of University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; and
  • Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh.

The group will coordinate its work with the guidance committee and use trade associations and university extension programs both in the U.S. and abroad to educate cantaloupe growers around the world about the guidance, according to the release.