FDA helps play it safe with produce

March 14, 2007
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a guide advising processors of fresh-cut produce how to minimize microbial food safety hazards common in processing most fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a guide advising processors of fresh-cut produce how to minimize microbial food safety hazards common in processing most fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

Entitled Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables, this document suggests that fresh-cut processors consider a food safety program such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. This system is designed to prevent, eliminate, or reduce microbial, chemical, and physical hazards associated with food production.

This guidance recommends that processors encourage adoption of safe practices by others in the supply chain. These include produce growers, packers, distributors, transporters, importers, exporters, retailers, foodservice operators, and consumers. The practices include:

--Establishing a company policy that employees report any active case of illness to supervisors before beginning work and training.

--Training supervisors to recognize typical signs/symptoms of infectious disease; maintain the proper first aid to protect and cover any wound; and not allow an employee to work with any aspect of fresh or fresh-cut produce, processing equipment, or tools until the wound has healed and/or the infectious disease has been treated.

More information on safe handling practices of produce can be found at www.fightbac.org.

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