Four California commodity groups representing cantaloupe, leafy greens and pistachios are again backing the annual Center for Produce Safety request for research proposals.

The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, California Melon Research Board, California Leafy Greens Research Program and California Pistachio Research Program represent about 451,000 acres and $2.9 billion in farm value, according to a news release.

The Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis and its partners in various industries plan to fund $3 million in food safety research this year. The application deadline is March 28. Awards are to be announced in the fall.

A list of research priorities across fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, including the California crops, is online. Past projects totaling $10.6 million in awards can be viewed as well.

“By pooling our resources with CPS, we are seeing projects funded that we could never have financed on our own,” Mary Zischke, program chief executive officer of the California Leafy Greens Research Program, said in the release. Results can be used by producers in other states, Zischke said.

Bob Klein, California Pistachio Research Board manager, said his group’s efforts with CPS aim in part to assist small handlers with meeting requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board funded its first guidance document through the University of California, Davis in 2004. The resulting document, “Minimizing the Risk of Foodborne Illness Associated with Cantaloupe Production and Handling in California,” is being updated.

California cantaloupe handlers recently approved their first mandatory food safety program. Its food safety certification program requires inspection to a set of production and handling metrics.