The agriculture industry takes fresh produce safety seriously. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), each year 48 million people become ill from a food borne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, & 3000 die. Many different pathogens can contaminate foods and make people sick. Pathogens are microorganisms that cause disease. Here are just a few that are of concern.
Top pathogens of concern in fresh produce:
- E. coli
Human health protection and food safety takes a lot of effort and thoughtfulness on the part of the fresh produce industry and its partners. Fresh produce safety covers a wide range of practices, from farm production, to processing, distribution, storage and more. Keeping the nation’s food supply safe requires food safety regulations and constant monitoring based on scientific principles.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, establishes science-based minimum regulatory guidelines for safe growing and harvesting of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. These guidelines are based on a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and use clear and specific actions to prevent contamination in food supplies. These guidelines include, worker health and hygiene, agricultural water, biological soil amendments, animal intrusion, & sanitation. In order to ensure that these aspects of the Produce Safety Rule are understood and implemented, companies (growers, harvesters, packers and coolers) in the fresh produce industry must have one trained individual within their team. This will help to create a culture of food safety and ensure a safe food supply.
Preventing fresh produce from contamination is an important pursuit for growers. On this site, we will keep up to date information on the latest research and scientific recommendations to mitigate contamination.