The format for industry-led meetings focused on cantaloupe safety has changed from four in-person meetings to a series of weekly Web seminars.

The first Web seminar is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 2 PDT.

The focus of the Web seminars will be technical and scientific, but all who want to participate are welcome, said Glenn Boyet, senior director of public relations for Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association.

“We don’t want it appear to be closed, but these are scientific meetings and that’s what we are trying to emphasize,” Boyet said.

PMA, Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers and the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas helped organize and plan the meetings

Boyet said the exact number of Web seminar meetings will be discussed at the April 2 event.

“It will definitely be more than four meetings,” he said.

Earlier this year, organizers had laid out a series of four in-person regional meetings in Phoenix, Irvine, Calif., Denver and the Southeast U.S. from March 29 through June 21 to develop guidelines to improve the safety of cantaloupe. Seattle-based food safety lawyer Bill Marler criticized the exclusion of the public and victims of the listeria outbreak linked to Colorado cantaloupe from those meetings.

Boyet said the new format will allow greater participation across the supply chain.

“The (Web seminars) allow us to do more than having just the four in-person meeting,” Boyet said march 19.

Completion of a draft of cantaloupe food safety rules is expected by be available by Aug. 1 of this year.