viernes, 10 de junio de 2011

Relevant practices to improve Food Safety in produce (salad greens)

A set of simple measures that help to prevent future outbreaks
1. – Implement Good Harvest Practices

In the case of cut salad greens, pathogens can be a big problem because when leaves are cut during harvest or post-processing nutrients begin to ooze from the cuts. That, in turn, attracts any pathogens that might be on the leaves or in the immediate area. When that happens, the pathogens cling tight and can't be dislodged. But that only happens only if there are pathogens present. If farmers and food handlers follow good agricultural and handling practices, there won't be any foodborne pathogens on the leaves or in the immediate area.

2. - Vector Protection

From an industry perspective, food safety goes back to the field -- that it's important to have field conditions that don't harbor foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. For that reason, the fields should be managed so they aren't vulnerable to contamination by animals and birds.

3. – Use clean water

Another important food safety "must" on the farm is clean water. The water source for irrigation and cleaning the produce must be monitored and certified to be totally free of pathogens.

4. – Maintain cold chain
Once harvested, the produce must be stored under the right temperature, which is usually 4.4 degrees C. And that cold chain must be maintained all the way through, including during transportation.

5. – Continuous personnel training
All the employees should be instructed in proper hand-washing procedures and confirm that they have access to proper bathroom and dining facilities.

6. – Perform Laboratory controls
Produce should be tested regularly to confirm they are innocuous, this is especially important after rain water irrigation.

7. - Traceability
Maintain a day to day Register of production that allows tracing back and forwarding all the produce that enters the market.   

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