the big idea

the big idea

PREVENTING FOODBORNE ILLNESS

Keeping a crop like cantaloupe safe for consumers requires many steps. Bacteria need food, water and the right temperature to grow. Since the fruit serve as the food source, much of the food safety process involves controlling the other two factors. If an outbreak occurs, tracing its source and the cause can be tricky, since fruit may change hands with multiple buyers or stores may load fruit from one bin into a bin with a different traceable number.

Checklist - site history, crop inputs, worker training

STEP 1: AUDIT

STEP 2: IN THE FIELD

Plastic mulch prevents contact with soil bacteria like listeria.

Workers avoid fruit with bird droppings, which can introduce salmonella

STEP 3: TRANSPORTATION

school bus filled with cantaloupes

Buses with windows and seats removed
are sanitized as food contact surfaces.

STEP 4: THE PACKINGHOUSE

55°F high-pressure HO wash

Chlorine-based sanitizer

Air blast to dry

Placing stickers

Bins with traceable #s

blowing wind

STEP 5: COOLING

  • Keeps pathogens at bay.
  • Slows ethylene production/ripening.
  • Provides an extra week of shelf life.

6-8 hours incremental cooling to 42°F

STEP 6: WHERE TO NEXT?

Question mark
Warehouse distribution center
Local store
Another buyer
Question mark
Warehouse distribution center
Local store
Another buyer
cantaloupe truck

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