STC Number - 152

Restrictions on melons

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: Mexico
Supported by:
First date raised: November 2002 G/SPS/R/28, paras. 179-180
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/366
Products covered: 0807 Melons (including watermelons) and papaws (papayas), fresh.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Human health
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

Mexico indicated that on 28 October 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed an emergency import ban on cantaloupe melons imported from Mexico. Mexico considered this measure as being disproportionate and not based on scientific evidence of any health risk (G/SPS/GEN/366). Mexico requested the United States to suspend the import ban on cantaloupe melons and to comply with its obligations under the SPS Agreement.
The United States noted that FDA sampling of imported produce found that samples of cantaloupe melons from most growing regions in Mexico tested positive for salmonella. The samples had been collected both in the fall/winter and spring/summer seasons, and it appeared that unsanitary conditions in the growing and packing of cantaloupe melons had resulted in four salmonella outbreaks. The import alert recommended officials to detain cantaloupe melons from Mexico at all US ports without physical examination. The October import alert expanded prior import alerts that had targeted specific imports and growers whose products had been linked to outbreaks or had tested positive for salmonella. On 28 October 2002, the United States had announced that they would continue to work with Mexico on a food safety programme for production, packing and shipping of fresh cantaloupe melons. The Mexican Government had proposed a certification programme based on good agricultural practices and good manufacturing practices that would allow the FDA to identify firms that had adopted and implemented such a programme. This certification programme was still under development and the United States looked forward to its early implementation.