Melon Vs. Watermelon

Food safety is an issue that will never go away and federal regulations will be coming, probably in the near future. Unfortunately, those regulations will come at a cost to the grower, and those costs will be difficult to pass along to the consumer. As a result, those expenses have the potential to present a significant burden for some growers.

That is why the National Watermelon Association (NWA) is aggressively pleading its case to FDA in regard to the agency’s classification of watermelon. Watermelon currently is grouped in the melon category, which is one of the seven high-risk categories based on outbreaks traced by FDA, states NWA Executive Director Robert Morrissey in a letter to the watermelon industry last month. Watermelon, however, has had no outbreaks related to production practices.

In the letter to the industry, Morrissey asks producers and others in the industry to contact FDA and ask the agency to reconsider how it views watermelon in relation to food safety. “FDA has verified that watermelon has no outbreaks related to production or industry practices,” states Morrissey. “Yet, many of our farmers and handlers are required to invest ‘unnecessarily’ in additional audits and other food safety programs by their customers due to the inclusion in the melon category.

“We are following GAPs and good handling principles and expect to continue to do so, in many cases doing more than what is expected on our farms and in our packingsheds,” he continues. “What we need to do is to separate our ‘safe’ crop from unnecessary protocols and audits that are required of high-risk categories.”

Understanding Risk

In a letter drafted for its members to send to their representatives in Congress to make them aware of the watermelon situation, the NWA cites comments made by United Fresh Produce Association that point out the differences in the melon category: “The industry recognizes that netted skin melons, like cantaloupe, have a different contamination risk profile from waxy skin melons, like watermelon, and this is reflected in the relative frequency that each has been associated with illness outbreaks.”

What Growers Can Do

NWA is encouraging growers to plead their case to FDA, but time is running out. The deadline for comments is May 24. To submit comments, growers can visit the docket FDA has opened to gather information on current practices and conditions for fresh produce production and packing at www.regulations.gov (The ID number is FDA-2010-N-0085-0070.)

NWA also is asking those in the industry to contact their senators and representatives to ask them for their support. To view a draft of the letters to send to Congress and Morrissey’s letter to the watermelon industry go to www.nationalwatermelonassociation.com.

Because watermelons have never been the cause of a foodborne illness outbreak, it makes sense that they should not be lumped in with other melons, but what is your take on this?  Post your thoughts in the comment box below.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Choosing the right fungicide can be critical as shown here by the stark contrast between a fungicide-treated garlic leaf (right) and an untreated leaf covered with a pathogenic rust fungus.
Photo credit: S. T. Koike
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The Job
It’s that time of year again, the time when the nation once more faces critical questions about the future ahead. Once Read More
Young Growers are pictured with Wally Heuser (center front row), the first IFTA president. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
GenNext Growers
April 30, 2016
Young Growers The Focus Of Industry Programming, Reception
The next generation in the tree fruit industry getting support of leading industry organizations. Read More
Jacket Rot Almonds featured image
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
An intern harvest salad greens at Churview Farm for a farm dinner FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Between Farm And Table
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Cosmis Crisp apples planting FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Marketers Differ In Their Crop Choices
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
apple tree trellising washington state
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure Expose Bigger Flaws
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Brandt logo
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Utah-Based Baicor
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Drip Irrigation
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On Soil Health
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Two chipping varieties Cornell released in the last few years that have shown promise are ‘Lamoka’ and ‘Waneta.’ 
“They both have outstanding chip color when fried out of the cold, which is a trait that’s important in the industry,” Cornell's Walter De Jong says.
Photo courtesy of Walter De Jong
Potatoes
April 28, 2016
Potato Breeding Update From Cornell University
Variety research includes incorporating resistance to Potato Virus Y, a new race of golden nematode, and improving appearance. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The…
It’s that time of year again, the time when the nation once more faces critical questions about the future ahead. Once Read More
GenNext Growers
April 30, 2016
Young Growers The Focus Of Industry Prog…
The next generation in the tree fruit industry getting support of leading industry organizations. Read More
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Be…
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Mark…
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Who’s Using Biocontrols, And Who I…
With so many consumers concerned about how food is grown, many farm marketers find themselves in the unexpected role of Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure …
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On So…
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Potatoes
April 28, 2016
Potato Breeding Update From Cornell Univ…
Variety research includes incorporating resistance to Potato Virus Y, a new race of golden nematode, and improving appearance. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 28, 2016
Small Producers Talk Profits
Four growers from across the country discuss the importance of knowing your customer, how to handle money, and being the face of your farm. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To…
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
USDA Establishes New Partnership To Link…
Minority, women, new and beginning, military, veteran, and urban producers to receive training and information on agency services. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
The Truth About Most Farmworkers [Opinio…
Just ask any grower who has placed a help wanted ad. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
It’s Time To Rethink Grade Standards For…
Food waste is largely dictated by limiting produce standards. Read More
Crop Protection
April 27, 2016
Vector Transmitting Red Blotch Virus Fou…
Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC-Davis) have found the vector that seems to be spreading grapevine red blotch, a Read More
Berries
April 27, 2016
New Herbicide For Tomatoes, Strawberries
The product from Helm Agro US is registered to control more than 100 broadleaf, grass, and sedge species. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]