A class of 10 members will be selected for the one-year program beginning in September.
The program identifies potential leaders and prepares them to be strong advocates for Florida specialty crop agriculture. Graduates leave the program with a depth of knowledge of the issues facing agriculture and the tools to deal with those issues. In doing so, they are well-suited to improve the economic viability of specialty crop agriculture and grassroots involvement in FFVA.
The sessions include a trip to Tallahassee to meet with legislators, seminars provided by FFVA staff members and other experts on current issues, venues to study environmental issues and water management, and visits to specialty crop production areas in Florida and California.
Applications may be found on FFVA’s website at ffva.com/Leaders. Applicants must submit their completed forms with a supervisor's approval by May 1 to Sonia.Tighe@ffva.com or by fax to (813) 975-1772. Contact Tighe at (813) 975-8377 with any questions.
FDA announces cantaloupe inspections
The Food and Drug Administration will begin inspecting U.S. cantaloupe packinghouses to assess current practices and to identify unsanitary conditions that could affect the safety of product on its way to consumers. The agency also will target imported cantaloupes at the border for sampling.
A new resource is available for companies that grow, harvest, sort, pack, process or ship cantaloupes in developing production practices that reduce the risk of contamination.
The “National Commodity-Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Cantaloupes and Netted Melons” (www.cantaloupe-guidance.org) was developed and released by a coalition of industry and academic experts, government scientists and regulators.
Anyone involved in the production, harvesting, packing, cooling, storage and transporting of fresh uncut cantaloupes is strongly encouraged to use this guidance to develop specific preventive food safety programs and practices to address risk and minimize microbial hazards.
The FDA also refers to its own resources and guidance: “Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fruits and Vegetables” and “Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Melons.”
Lochridge is the director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland. She can be reached at (321) 214-5206 or email@example.com.