(April 29) NOGALES, Ariz. — The Food and Drug Administration has given its approval for a fourth shipper of Mexican cantaloupes to export to the U.S. 1½ years after the government’s import ban began.

Giadela SPR de RL, Hermosillo, Sonora, supplies melons to Nogales-based Vandervoet & Associates. The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas announced the approval on April 26. The Sonoran spring melon shipping season began in early April.

The FDA gave its approval April 2, and shipments will start the first week of May, owner Brian Vandervoet said.

Although it’s been more than a year since the company has shipped the melons, Vandervoet said retailers are ready to implement a Mexican cantaloupe program.

Domingo Danese, who oversees operations at Giadela, credited the approval to perseverance, working on paperwork and resubmitting forms to the FDA over the past year.

“I know many other growers in Mexico already have food safety systems in place,” Danese said in a press release. “Hopefully, as other growers continue with their applications, the process will be streamlined.”

Agroproductos San Rafael, Guaymas, which sells to Farmers Best International, Nogales, and Guadalupe de Guaymas and Santa Inez, both in the state of Sonora, have been approved to ship whole cantaloupes to the U.S. The Giumarra Cos., Nogales, is the sole U.S. marketer for the two latter growers. Orval Kent de Linares SA, Linares, Mexico, is the only processor allowed to ship Mexican cantaloupe to the U.S.