New Tech Helps Increase Food Safety With Cantaloupes

Arizona-based Martori Farms has launched a new food-safety program when they pack the cantaloupes at their Aguila, Ariz., packinghouse, using a process that creates a quick, 20-second hot water shower to clean pathogens from the melons' rough skin, as the produce grower aims to continue to improve critical food-safety issues in cantaloupes.

According to this article from TheProduceNews.com, president Stephen Martori Sr. says Martori Farms is one of only two companies using this technology.

The hot water shower was developed, beginning several years ago, through close cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Eastern Regional Agricultural Research Center in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyndmoor, PA. The research led to Martori's system, which was commercially implemented in late April for the firm's 2013 season launch.

The water shower lasts for approximately 20 seconds on each cantaloupe, which is rotated during the process. Targeting a water temperature of 162 degrees F, this brief hot water bath pasteurizes the skin, but is brief enough to avoid heating or injuring the cantaloupe's flesh.

The company will also share their experiences with the new safety system with others in the industry.

"We are not trying to make food safety proprietary," said Martori. "We don't think [keeping progressive secrets] would be the right thing to do. If we have additional outbreaks, we aren't going to have an industry. We would be done."

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