Perfect Safety Record
We are, and always have been committed to the safety and integrity of our produce.
Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ has had a perfect safety record for over 125 years, since 1887. When you see the Rocky Ford Growers Association/Hirakata Farms sticker you will know our cantaloupes, watermelons, and honeydews have been grown and packaged following stringent, national safety procedures.
Every grower member of the Rocky Ford Growers Association has agreed to a risk assessment and/or audit review of their farms. This includes strict adherence to USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP). In addition, the Rocky Ford Growers Association follows FDA food safety (FSMA) rules. Any grower who doesn’t follow the rules cannot be part of the Association.
Our Safety Procedures
1. Safety Audits. Rocky Ford Growers Association meets all federal guidelines. We are required to pass two USDA audits, including one unannounced audit.
2. New Packing Shed. Recently, our lead packer, Hirakata Farms, built a new, state-of-the-art packing shed and installed new cleaning and cooling technology and equipment. This includes an advanced washing/chlorination sanitation system that provides a microbial soap shower (with chlorine oxide) and a final soap rinse to our cantaloupe. We monitor water quality hourly during processing. High-output air coolers then quickly cool the field-heated melons to reduce condensation and potential bio problems.
3. Safe Handling. Trailers are segregated and only carry Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™, watermelon, honeydews, and pumpkins. No animals or other produce is carried in these trailers.
4. Safety Manager. Hirakata Farms employs a full-time food safety manager to insure that GAP/GHP and USDA requirements are being met and monitored.
5. Scan Technology. Carton insert card with QR Code scan technology. Hirakata Farms is tracking the cantaloupe from seed planting to supermarket. Each box has a QR code that, when scanned, will detail the history of the Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™.
6. Training and Inspection. All Hirakata Farms field workers and shed employees have been trained on all of the new policies. Field inspections are conducted daily.
Safety is Your Responsibility Too
To ensure the safest eating experience, please make sure you follow these simple steps when preparing your melons:
1. RINSE – Rinse under running water.
2. SCRUB – Scrub with a clean produce brush.
3. DRY – Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
4. CUT – With a clean knife.