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FDA will step up inspection of cantaloupe packinghouses

FDA on Monday, Feb. 25 announced its intention to begin inspections of cantaloupe packinghouses during the 2013 growing season, with a special focus on preventing listeria outbreaks.

“As we move forward over the next few years with implementation of the produce safety provisions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), it is essential that the cantaloupe industry and the produce industry in general, observe best practices already recognized by FDA and the industry as effective in reducing the risk of harmful contamination,” said the letter from Michael Landa, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

FDA plans to conduct inspections of what it calls a “subset of the cantaloupe packinghouses” in the United States. FDA says it will continue to target imported cantaloupes at the border for sampling and may “engage in other surveillance and inspection activities as circumstances warrant” to protect public health. In its letter, FDA advises that, in the event of adverse findings, they will take action as needed to protect public health.“The cantaloupe industry has made tremendous strides in addressing food safety priorities and this FDA inspection program will demonstrate that,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “It’s imperative that every produce industry operation shows the highest commitment to food safety.”

The full text of the letter to the industry can be found here.

New guidance released in February for the cantaloupe industry can be downloaded by visiting www.cantaloupe-guidance.org.

Originally posted Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Tags: cantaloupe outbreak, cantaloupes, contaminated cantaloupe, fda, food safety, fsma, listeria, united fresh

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