LT GAPS Fresh Produce2

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Information about LT GAPS Fresh Produce2

Published on December 31, 2007

Author: Ethan


Minimizing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables :  Minimizing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Lynn G. Turner, Ph.D. Department of Food Science 8 Basic Principles:  8 Basic Principles Principles of microbial food safety within the realm of growing, harvesting, packing, and transporting Be better prepared to recognize and address the principal elements known to give rise to microbial food safety concerns Assist in developing the most appropriate good agricultural & management practices for your facility. Principle 1.:  Principle 1. Prevention of microbial contamination is strongly favored over reliance on corrective actions once contamination has occurred. Principle 2.:  Principle 2. To minimize microbial food safety hazards in fresh produce, growers, packers, or shippers should use good agricultural & management practices in those areas over which they have control. Principle 3.:  Principle 3. Fresh produce can become contaminated at any point along the farm-to-table food chain. The major source of microbial contamination with fresh produce is associated with human or animal feces. Principle 4.:  Principle 4. Whenever water comes in contact with produce, its source and quality dictates the potential for contamination. Minimize the potential of microbial contamination from water used with fresh fruits and vegetables. Crop Production Water:  Crop Production Water Know routes & handling of surface water sources, seasonal influences on quality and any microbial monitoring programs of the supplier Identify potential sources of contamination Ensure wells aren’t contaminated by surface run-off and soil infiltration Foliar applications from pathogen free source Currently, foliar applications from potable source within two weeks of harvest Postharvest Water During Packing:  Postharvest Water During Packing Ensure all water is of adequate quality Routinely monitor & record levels of antimicrobial chemicals to ensure appropriate levels Monitor water quality for dump tank systems & re-circulated water Keep air-cooling & chilling equipment clean & sanitary Transport, store & use ice under sanitary conditions Principle 5.:  Principle 5. Practices using animal manure or municipal biosolid wastes should be managed closely to minimize the potential for microbial contamination of fresh produce. Manure and Municipal Biosolids:  Manure and Municipal Biosolids Be informed about proper compost management Document specific compost management Maximize time between manure application & harvest If using multi-season drip irrigation, spreading manure without incorporation into soil requires careful attention Minimizing Animal Fecal Contamination:  Minimizing Animal Fecal Contamination Exclude domestic animals from fields Evaluate need for bare soil buffers to adjacent land that may encourage potential sources of contamination Minimize presence of vector attractants (i.e. cull piles) within production field Principle 6.:  Principle 6. Worker hygiene and sanitation practices during production, harvesting, sorting, packing, and transporting play a critical role in minimizing the potential for microbial contamination of fresh produce. Worker Health and Hygiene:  Worker Health and Hygiene Follow requirements for sanitary facilities Training programs on proper hand washing & use of toilet facilities Establish and communicate a clear policy to reassign workers with symptoms of illness or diarrhea Carefully inspect areas frequented by unsupervised workers (i.e. night irrigators) Worker Health and Hygiene (con’t):  Worker Health and Hygiene (con’t) Provide bandages or other protective coverings for cuts & lesions Teach proper use of gloves to prevent pathogen transfer Use caution when servicing portable toilets to prevent leakage into a field Contain and divert waste spillage. Field and Harvest Sanitation:  Field and Harvest Sanitation Clean all food contact surfaces & bins prior to use Ensure crews are aware of risk reduction principles & adhere to safe food practices Develop & document cleaning & sanitizing system for food contact surfaces Minimize potential for vectors to contaminate packing surfaces & materials Minimize access or attraction of vectors to harvest equipment kept in the field Principle 7.:  Principle 7. Follow all applicable local, state, and Federal laws and regulations, or corresponding or similar laws, regulations, or standards for operators outside the U.S., for agricultural practices. Principle 8.:  Principle 8. Accountability at all levels of the agricultural environment (farm, packing facility, distribution center, and transport operation) is important to a successful food safety program. There must be qualified personnel and effective monitoring to ensure that all elements of the program function correctly and to help track produce back through the distribution channels to the producer. Packing Facilities:  Packing Facilities Packing surfaces & equipment: minimize injury to produce & maximize accessibility for cleaning Establish routine cleaning & sanitizing programs Remove as much dirt as possible for containers, trailers or gondolas between harvest uses Packing Facilities (con’t):  Packing Facilities (con’t) Clean pallets, containers or bins before use Establish & maintain pest control program Prevent birds or other vectors from contaminating equipment, areas, & storage Store unformed or empty containers off the floor or bare soil Transportation:  Transportation Inspect vehicles for cleanliness, odors, dirt & debris before loading Ensure that transporters, distributors & retailers maintain lot identification & traceback systems Traceback:  Traceback At a minimum, an effective traceback system should indicate source of product and identification that can follow the product from the farm to the consumer. Documentation should include: date of harvest, farm identification, and who handled the produce from grower to receiver. Storage & Distribution:  Storage & Distribution Be aware of the potential for cross-contamination Separate dry & wet produce and place water-repellant barriers between mixed loads Fresh-cut or Value-added Processing:  Fresh-cut or Value-added Processing Use only good quality fruit, free from wounds, defects & mold/ decay Incoming product should not cross paths or be stored next to cleaned or processed product Worker traffic flow & activities should not move between packing & receiving Develop training for handling & processing to prevent bare or glove hand contact of non-cleaned fruit rind & cut fresh fruit Fresh-cut or Value-added Processing:  Fresh-cut or Value-added Processing Routinely monitor & record levels of antimicrobial chemicals to ensure appropriate levels Monitor water quality for common wash tank or flume systems and any re-circulated water Conclusion:  Conclusion Protecting the U.S. food supply requires a comprehensive and coordinated effort throughout the food production & transportation system. Implement good agricultural & manufacturing practices Operator must ensure that process is working correctly. Slide26:  Program initiated by retailers asking for demonstration of adherence to food safety practices Participation is voluntary and fee based Growers/ packers who successfully pass will be listed on USDA & NCDA web sites foodsafety/index/html Phone: 252-792-1672

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