Different conditions east of the Rockies provide good growing environments for cantaloupe and pathogens, Hall said.
“In the eastern regions rain splash and higher humidity make it necessary for us to clean the cantaloupe before packing,” Hall said.
The Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association includes all of the country east of the Rocky Mountains, Hall said.
“We’ve already heard strong support from retailers,” Hall said, adding that the association is still in the startup phase. “Some have said that they won’t buy cantaloupe unless it’s from a member of the association.”
To become a member of the new association, growers-shippers must have successfully completed a Global Food Safety Initiative audit.
They also must provide the association with results from monthly tests of irrigation water and daily tests of wash water. Association members are also subject to unannounced audits. Cantaloupes from association members will carry identification stickers.