SRSFC Blackberry Agent Training Fresh Produce Safety. August 4-5, 2009 Diane T. Ducharme GAPs Program Coordinator Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture [email protected] Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). A tool for addressing food safety (human pathogens) on the farm
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August 4-5, 2009
Diane T. Ducharme
GAPs Program Coordinator
Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture
Cayetanensis on raspberries
Contamination persists from farm to fork.
Education of produce handlers, retailers, through to consumers.
Fresh produce – no kill step
“Guilty by association until proven otherwise”
Every year, about 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses result in an estimated:
5,200 needless deaths
Economic losses between $10-83 billion
A recent study suggested that produce-related illnesses accounted for the largest number of cases -- 29 percent.
Number of Produce-Related Outbreaks by Decade, 1973 - 2008
Outbreaks / year
Courtesy of William C. Hurst, UGA
Strawberry industry lost an estimated $50 million in 1996 after mistakenly being indicated as the source of pathogens in an outbreak.
Apple juice (Odwalla Inc.) shareholder value dropped approximately 41 percent ($12.4 million) in six months after E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in 1996.
Outbreaks reduce effectiveness of produce-promotion campaigns.
Outbreaks may result in unwanted legislation or regulation.
Bacteria – Single-celled organisms that live independently
Viruses– Small particles that live and replicate in a host
Parasites– Intestinal worms or protozoa that live in a host animal or human
Hepatitis A virus
Iceberg lettuce, raspberries, strawberries, green onion
Inhabitants of soil
Residents of human and animal intestinal tracts
Courtesy of Cornell University
JFP vol65 p18-23
Preventing microbial contamination of fresh produce is favored over relying on corrective action once contamination occurs.
Has the site been exposed to activities or conditions in the past that might have resulted in contamination?
Is adjacent land being used for purposes that might result in contamination of crop land?
Slide modified from D. Sanders presentation
Soil can be tested for fecal bacteria, heavy metals or chemical contamination.
Fecal coliforms or E. coli are often used as indicators of contamination by manure or sewage.
To minimize microbial food safety hazards in fresh produce, growers, packers or shippers should use good agricultural or management practices in those areas over which they have control.
GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE #3
Fresh produce can become microbiologically 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.
Whenever water comes
in contact with produce,
water quality dictates
the potential for produce contamination. Minimize the potential for microbial contamination from water used with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Pesticide or nutrient sprays
Worker drinking water
Facilities – restrooms and handwashing
Harvest & packing
Dump, wash, rinse, cool
Cleaning and sanitation water
Cooling and Transporting
Ice Cleaning and sanitation water
Runoff from fields containing livestock manure can contaminate surface water with pathogens as well as with nutrients.
Algal blooms are a symptom of a potential problem.
Exclude animals from surface water sources as well as from drainages to water sources.
GOOD AGRICULTURAL Testing
Practices using animal manure or municipal biosolid wastes should be managed closely to minimize the potential for microbial contamination for fresh produce. (120 days)
Composting guidelines often based on federal biosolids law (40CFR503):
GOOD AGRICULTURAL Testing
Worker hygiene and sanitation practices during production, harvesting, sorting,packing and transport play a critical role in minimizing the potential for microbial contamination of fresh produce.
Proper hand-washing is the best Testing
method of reducing contamination
Probably the #1 source of food-borne
illness is unsanitary worker conditions
Improper disposal of human waste from toilets could lead to contamination of water, soil, animal, crop or worker.
Use caution when servicing portable toilets:
Sewage transport trucks need direct access to toilet facilities to ensure proper collection and disposal of wastes.
Operators should be made aware of and be prepared in the event of any incidence of leakage or spillage of effluent in a field.
Educate employees about:
Courtesy of FDA
GOOD AGRICULTURAL Testing
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
More info on 21 CFR part 1, subpart J: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm
sets forth the establishment and maintenance of records for persons who manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold, or import food in the US (21CFR part 1, subpart J)
“Generally, everybody in supply chain must be able to trace
one step back and one step forward”
3rd Party Audits ?
Food Safety Plan Testing
Program initiated by retailers asking for demonstration of adherence to food safety practices
Many different auditors
Website for NCDA 3rd Party Audit:
This project received funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) and Risk Management Agency.