Mexico strengthens papaya sanitation practices
The Mexican Government is bolstering 'good manufacturing practices' in the papaya industry to improve food safety, following salmonella scares in the U.S. market.
The move follows a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Import Alert that strengthens the regulator's powers to reject Mexican papayas from U.S. entry.
In a release, Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA) announced eight packing lines would be 'good manufacturing practices' certified.
Meanwhile, the National Service for Agroalimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) will carry out good agricultural and processing practices workshops in nine of the country's 17 states that produce papayas.
National Papaya Committee president Francisco Mora Echegaray, said the new measures would reduce the health risks of fruit handling, with an infrastructure investment worth MXN10 million (US$802,645) to be funded 50-50 by growers and SAGARPA.
Mora Echegaray highlighted Mexico's role as the world's largest papaya exporter with around US$100 million worth of shipments each year, ranking third in planted area with 15,000 hectares. The industry itself generates 75,000 jobs in Mexico.
SAGARPA announced three of the packing lines would be in the states of Chiapas, Michoacán and Jalisco, while the remaining five would be in Colima, which is the leading state for papaya exports to the U.S.
National Papaya Exporters Association president Nazario Rodríguez Guerra, said the packing lines were made of stainless steel and set the standard for post-harvest infrastructure and equipment, with capacity to process 50 metric tons (MT) of the fruit per day.
In the last 10 years the surface area dedicated to papaya cultivation in Mexico has grown five-fold.