Date: Aug 17, 2012

IRVINE, Calif.–We have worked with California and Arizona producers and shippers for decades to develop, maintain and improve the strongest food safety programs in the industry.

The tragic and ongoing salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes is associated with an isolated region in Indiana and will likely be traced to a single farm with inadequate preventive programs in place.

Public health and welfare, along with the entire cantaloupe industry, suffers when companies do not aggressively pursue food safety throughout the supply chain.

Western Growers contends that every cantaloupe grower and shipper must have strong preventive controls in place. For a broker, distributor, retailer, grocery chain or food service buyer to demand a vigorous food safety and traceback program from California and Arizona cantaloupe farmers, but then purchase from a supplier without ensuring they have similar systems in place is unconscionable. Another supplier may be cheaper or provide a perceived local marketing opportunity, but the shared responsibility for well-being and safety of the public should always be our top priority.

It is paramount for public health and the economic well being and continued viability of the California and Arizona cantaloupe industries that the entire supply chain adhere to food safety programs. No matter whom the supplier, a strong preventive food safety program must be in place. Ask your retailer for California or Arizona cantaloupes. 

For more information, contact WG's Hank Giclas.

About Western Growers:
Since 1926, we have represented local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona and California. Our members provide half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce. Some also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices as the first line of defense against obesity and disease. We grow the best medicine in the world.™


For interviews, contact:        
Wendy Fink-Weber,
Communications Director
(949) 885-2256

Stephanie A. Wilken,
Communications Manager
(949) 885-2257

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