Tony Phillips, food safety director for Frey Farms, Poseyville, Ind., said he supports the association’s marketing efforts and food safety efforts. He said Frey Farms works with several growers to ensure the cantaloupe it ships are safe. The company’s food safety program included 10 packing facility audits and 48 farm audits last year, Phillips said.
Coral BeachResearch scientist Cathy Webb, Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, discusses cantaloupe food safety at the Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association conference March 3 in Atlanta. She said stem scars are the bull’s eye for pathogen contamination on the fruit.“We spend a significant amount of money on food safety,” Phillips said. “We appreciate the retailers’ support, but we would like them to understand how much we and other growers have invested in food safety and realize that they need to pay more for our melons because of that investment.”
Also during the conference, scientists presented information on cantaloupe-specific food safety research. Also presenting was Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director for the Center for Produce Safety, based at the University of California-Davis.
Hall also provided cantaloupe growers a mini-update on the status of the Food Safety Modernization Act. He said growers should be aware that the animal feed rule could apply to their operations if they send culled fruit to animal operations.
Paul Fleming, chief operating officer for Frey Farms, urged fellow association members to keep an eye on the safe transportation rule because it will apply to fresh produce, also.