Arizona’s fall cantaloupe harvest has just begun and Arizona families can rest assured that the appetizing melon is safe to eat.
A recent deadly listeria outbreak traced to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colo., has sparked concern as to whether fall cantaloupe is safe to eat.
“Typically, all of our growers in southern Arizona, where most of the fall cantaloupe is grown, follow a strict collection of food safety guidelines,” says Kurt Nolte, Yuma County Extension agent and director of the Yuma Agricultural Center.
“Additionally, Arizona melons are grown using below ground drip irrigation, and very rarely get wet in the field. Listeria, and other dangerous microbes, tend to multiply in wet, moist environments. As another food safety precaution, Arizona-grown melons are field packed, and kept dry from field to fork.”
More than 23,000 acres of cantaloupe are produced in Arizona, mainly in the spring. But in the fall, approximately 9,800 acres of cantaloupe are harvested.