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For the purpose of destination inspection melons should be identified as to type of melon,

Example: Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, Honey Ball, Cranshaw, Persian, Casaba, etc.

Cantaloupe should be fairly clean and well formed.

Well formed: Means that the melon has the normal shape characteristic of the variety. It should not be lopsided or irregular in shape.

Fairly clean: Means that the melon does not show any noticeable amount of dirt or other foreign material which is considered to be more than slightly affecting the appearance.


There is no minimum size for cantaloupes. However, when in packages, specimens cannot vary more than 1 1/2 inch in diameter.

Ground Colour

The ground colour on cantaloupe may be described by the use of the terms dark green, light green, turning and yellow. (Turning means the break from light green to yellow.) Honey Dew types may be described as green, greenish-white, white or cream coloured.


The degree of firmness is determined by squeezing the melon between thumb and fingers at the equatorial diameter.

The following are the terms to be used:

Hard: Does not give to pressure.

Firm: Yields slightly to pressure; also may show slight softness at blossom end.

Ripe & Fairly Firm: Yields moderately to pressure, distinct give at blossom end but not soft to the point that the flesh is discoloured. Ground colour is generally yellow at this stage of maturity.

Soft: Means that a portion of the flesh has broken down or soft areas are present generally on the portion of the melon that has been in contact with the ground. Care should be taken not to score soft bruises as soft melons. Softness is usually associated with breakdown of the flesh which becomes quite watery and discoloured. The term overripe should not be used.

Wilted: Means that the melon is flabby and pliable and the flesh is rubbery and off-flavour as a result of being immature.

Note: Specimens scored as soft or wilted are to be shown in percentages on the certificate.

Wet Slip: This term is not to be used at destination. Moist or wet stem scars at destination are usually a result of changing temperatures during unloading. However, if decay has started to develop in the stem scar, report as decay affecting the stem end. (See definition of decay.)

Sunken Areas: These areas must be sharply sunken before being scored. They are generally discoloured and accompanied by a dark or black mould. Score any amount that exceeds 5% of the surface area. As a rule of thumb, 5% of the surface area is equal to an area with a diameter of approximately half the diameter of the melon.

Watery Translucent: The outside of the melon has a watery glossy appearance usually the result of low temperatures during transit. Score any amount and also describe depth of penetration into the flesh and the area of load where located.

Watery Seed Cavity: The seed cavity of the melon contains a lot of liquid with majority of seeds and seed tissue floating in the cavity. When serious enough to score, it can be detected by shaking the melon and should be described in general terms. If the flesh surrounding the seed cavity is discoloured as well, the specimen should be scored as internal discolouration of flesh rather than watery seed cavity, and shown as a percentage defect.

Black Surface Mould: Score when mould exceeds 5% of the surface area.

White Surface Mould: Is not a serious defect; usually dissipates when exposed to dry air. If it detracts from the appearance, can be noted in general terms.

Growth Cracks: This defect is scored on the basis of appearance. Do not score slight dry cracks along suture lines or around the stem end. Score only when the flesh is exposed or if they seriously detract from the appearance. In the latter case, inspectors should contact their supervisors before scoring.

Ground Spots: Score when the affected area is soft and the underlying flesh is discoloured or causes dark discolouration and is depressed and exceeds 10% of the surface area or is light in colour and exceeds 20% of the surface area. As a rule of thumb, 20% of the surface area is an area with a diameter equal to the diameter of the melon.

Scars: Score when not well healed or are rough and dark in colour and exceed 5% of the surface area.

Green Suture Lines: This is characteristic to some varieties and is not a defect but may be noted in general terms at the specific request of the applicant.

Bruising: Score only when the underlying flesh is discoloured.

Netting: It is unusual to describe netting at destination. However, when specifically requested to do so, the following terms should be used:

  • Well Netted: melon is covered with a well defined netting.
  • Fairly Well Netted: the netting is less defined and there are slight open areas.
  • Poorly Netted: netting not well filled out and there are major bald areas.

Decay: Means soft, mushy or leaking breakdown of the flesh from whatever cause.

Shipping Point Tolerances

By count:

  1. 3% decay;
  2. 5% same grade defect;
  3. 10% of packages may contain cantaloupes that are outside the size variation prescribed by paragraph (a) of Section 24 of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations;
  4. 10% may have grade defects other than (c) but including (a) and (b).

Honey Dew Type Melons: This type of melon does not fall under the grade standard for cantaloupes and therefore does not need compulsory inspection for entry into Canada.

Staining or Brown Areas (Surface) (Honey Dew Type)

  • If light brown and exceeding 20% of the surface area in the aggregate;
  • If dark brown and exceeding 10% of the surface area in the aggregate.

Net-Like Russeting (Honey Dew Type)

  • Score if exceeding 20% of the surface area in aggregate.