Production Practices as Risk Factors in Microbial Food Safety of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce
The purpose of this chapter is to identify production practices that may influence the risk of contamination and exposure to the consumer by human pathogens. Key areas of concern are prior land use, adjacent land use, field slope and drainage, soil properties, crop inputs and soil fertility management, water quality and use practices, equipment and container sanitation, worker hygiene and sanitary facilities, harvest implement and surface sanitation, pest and vermin control, effects of domesticated animal and wildlife on the crop itself or packing area, postharvest water quality and use practices, postharvest handling, transportation and distribution, and documentation and recordkeeping. The role of water quality and manure management practices is particularly critical. This chapter is largely focused on practices and research originated in the United States, however the issues of concern would most likely be applicable worldwide, and therefore affecting domestic as well as imported products. Appendix A describes the results of a estate survey on local requirements regarding manure and water quality management that may influence microbial contamination of produce.