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MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -
It is melon season in South Georgia, something that's clear at Moultrie's Farmer's Market right now. Truck loads of cantaloupes are pouring into the Market from Georgia fields.
But those melons have to go through a sanitation process to make sure they're safe before they hit super market shelves.
Before that cantaloupe gets to your kitchen table, it has already gone through a lengthy process. A process that is taken to make sure you the melons you eat are safe.
Thousands of cantaloupes are washed, disinfected and packed here at the Moultrie Farmer's Market.
"We do a fresh water bath, we change the water out every 6 or 7 trailers, we keep the chlorine at 5 parts per million, we use a buffer to keep the pH between 6 and 7 so the chorine will work," says Mike Mobley\John Mobley and Sons Farming Manager.
The melons then go through the brush machines and the cantaloupes are rinsed with selectocide.
"It will kill 100% of any bacteria, we brush the cantaloupe skin just a little bit to ruffle up the scale on the bacteria just to make sure we kill it, then we dry it, we sticker it, we size, it and pack it," says Mobley.
Most of these sanitation practices are motivated by buyers in the industry. "Most of the food safety is dictated by our customers, Publix, Kroger, Harris Teter, they require all of this," says Mobley.
But new produce safety regulations will soon make all of this mandatory. "A third party comes in and evaluates this operation to determine if they are in deed using proper food safety practices, proper disinfectant, proper moving through the system, proper employee facilities things like that to make sure they are producing a safe product," says Oscar Garrison, Georgia Dept. of Agriculture Food Safety Director.
But Garrison says no matter what lengths producers use to keep your food clean, you should still be practicing proper food safety at home.
"The consumer still has to practice food safety within their home, when these melons come in or whatever it is, we still have to wash our produce before we consume it," says Garrison.
Each day they pack 25 semi truck loads of cantaloupes and ship them all over the country.
The Food Safety Modernization Act will increase the FDA's authority and capacity to regulate 80% of the food supply.