Monitoring melons

05/28/2002 12:00:00 AM
Marilyn Yung

A kit also is available that includes an instructor guide and CD-ROM, presentation pack and an interactive training game called Food Safety Showdown. The program is suggested for training sessions that last one or two days.

Upon completion of the ServSafe course, participants have the information needed to handle food safely in the supermarket environment and prepare for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination, Chuboff says.

Whether you purchase your fresh-cut produce from a processor or prepare it yourself in your backroom, the potential for contamination still exists through various means, such as cross-contamination, improper temperature controls and handling. Make sure your processor and your employees have and follow food safety procedures.

Gorny recommends that retailers purchase fresh-cut cantaloupe, melon and other produce from outside processors. “It’s probably not a good idea to do this (prepare fresh-cut melons) in house. Use a processor with an established HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) program, a food safety program and who understands food safety practices,” he says. “At a processing plant, there’s a labyrinth of systems in place.”

The FDA/CFSAN recommends the following safe handling practices for melons if you process them in-house. These guidelines were updated and issued in May 2001 to be consistent with the FDA Food Code, a reference that guides food retailers on how to prevent foodborne illnesses. To access the FDA/CFSAN Web site, visit www.cfsan.fda.gov.

1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before cutting melons.
2.Before cutting, wash the outer surface of the melon thoroughly with cool tap water to remove surface dirt.
3. Wash all food-contact equipment and utensils that contact cut melons (cutting boards, knives, etc.) thoroughly with hot soapy water, rinse, sanitize and air-dry.
4. Maintain the temperature of cut melon at 41 degrees or below. Cut melons should be displayed in a refrigerated case, not just displayed on top of ice. Uncut melons do not need to be refrigerated.
5. Date cut melons that are held more than 24 hours to indicate that they must be consumed or discarded within seven days.
6. Mark the time when cut melons are displayed without refrigeration. Cut melons may be displayed for a maximum of four hours without temperature control, and, if not eaten, must be thrown away at the end of the four hours.



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