Food Safety is a crucial topic to consider and keep up to standard. You can never be too careful on how you handle your product to ensure that it is kept to the highest measure of quality and that the quality is assured.
Be sure to explore the Melon Food Safety Guidelines below, as well as the United Fresh Vegetable Self Audit and the Voluntary Food Safety Guidelines. These resources are extremely valuable to consider in alignment with your watermelon business.
UFFVA Self Audit Checklist
In September 2001, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association (UFFVA) worked with the United Production and Quality Assurance Council and the United Retail/Foodserve Food Safety Auditing Working Group to create a guidance document in the form of a questionnaire. Download it and give yourself an audit!
The sole purpose of the questionnaire is to assess “how” or “if” food safety issues are addressed in the production and distribution of fruits and vegetables. There is no “pass” or “fail” status or “right” or “wrong” answers associated with completion of the questionnaire.
Introduction to Voluntary Guidelines for Control of Microbial Hazards
Increasing consumer concerns about food safety and several recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses caused by microbial contaminants have encouraged the watermelon industry to examine and implement farm and production practices designed to minimize microbial hazards.
The following food safety guidelines were published in 1999. Since that time there have been many changes and advances in the food safety arena. These guidelines can serve as a starting point in development of individual operation's food safety programs, but should not be considered as a final solution and protocol to a safe operation.
The information and voluntary guidelines which follow are designed to be practical, economical, and yet effective, and can begin the process of demonstrating to customers, regulators and end consumers a good faith effort to minimalize microbial contamination risks. We urge all industry members to seek certification in the United States Department of Agriculture GAP Program, or other similar program, that includes a third-party certification.
In January 1997, a group of growers, shippers and processors, hydro-vac operators and other industry professionals agreed to pool resources to develop voluntary guidelines which the watermelon industry can use to minimize the risk of microbial contamination. This effort, led by Western Growers Association (WGA) and the International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA), is called the Food Safety Initiative. The National Watermelon Promotion Board has incorporated many guidelines from this Food Safety Initiative enacted by the WGA and IFPA, with changes, amendments, deletions and additions to make this document pertain to the specific needs of the watermelon industry. In addition, certain language and sections from the Food and Drug Administration's "Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables" also were incorporated into these voluntary guidelines.
The information and voluntary guidelines which follow are designed to be practical, economical, and yet effective.
These voluntary guidelines are designed to serve as a template that a grower, packer, shipper or processor can adapt to their own business, and if used will demonstrate to customers, regulators and end consumers, a good faith effort to minimize microbial contamination risks.