Food safety is a critical component of providing quality fresh produce. Growers are faced with greater regulations from the federal government and more requirements from buyers designed to reduce incidences of foodborne illness outbreaks involving fruits and vegetables. Multi-state outbreaks of pathogenic Escherichia coli, salmonella and listeria monocytogenes have raised awareness of the potential for foodborne illness to start on the farm. Pre- and post-harvest activities should take place with potential cross-contamination risks in mind. Many fruits and vegetables are harvested, sorted and/or packed by hand, therefore worker health and hygiene is an important part of a farm food safety program. Farms can implement and follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to help reduce the risk of product contamination.
farm food safety, GAPs, good agricultural practices