The board based the program on the Food and Drug Administration’s 2009 guidance for melons, though it’s been modified to take into account California growing practices, board manager John Gilstrap said.
California Department of Food and Agriculture auditors, who are certified by the USDA, will inspect operations.
An auditor’s checklist is still in the works.
“It’s kind of a cumbersome process to get all of the guidelines developed,” Gilstrap said.
As part of the overall food safety program, growers who pass the audit receive a certification stamp, which is in development, he said.
The board aims to complete the guidelines by the end of 2012, Gilstrap said.
In the meantime, inspectors are conducting informational inspections.
“What they’ve essentially started doing is pointing out any issues that may come up for the growers,” Gilstrap said.