Food Safety Guide Offers Tips On Safeguarding Fresh Produce Operations

The United Fresh Food Safety & Technology Council has developed a new safety guide titled "Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria" for the Fresh Produce Industry, that helps guide the fresh produce industry in developing practical and scientifically sound “search and destroy” programs for Listeria. The guide is free and available online for United members and non-members.

Two recent outbreaks have demonstrated the vulnerability of some fresh and fresh-cut operations to Listeria, leading to product contamination. Some customers and supplier operations have implemented Listeria testing programs without a good understanding of their scientific validity. While the processed foods industry and FDA have long had guidance for Listeria monitoring and control, guidance applicable to the unique conditions of fresh produce handling operations has been lacking.

This new guide describes in-depth handling techniques for fresh and fresh-cut produce, which offers some unique opportunities and challenges. The guide is applicable to all fresh and fresh-cut produce operations, including field and field packing, packinghouse and other produce handling operations such as re-pack, value-added and transport/distribution to retail/foodservice. All produce handling operations are encouraged to use this guide to 1) determine their level of vulnerability to Listeria that may lead to produce contamination, and 2) if vulnerable, to develop and implement an effective Listeria monitoring and control program.

To see a copy of the guide, click HERE