California strawberry commission food safety program

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The Basic Principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs):

  • The best way to prevent corrective action by state and federal governments is to prevent microbial contamination of fresh strawberries.
  • Use GAPs. To minimize microbial food safety hazards in strawberries, growers should use the GAPs outlined in this program and apply them to the areas of their operation over which they have control, such as sources of water, field sanitation, worker hygiene standards, etc. Managing and predicting potential sources of contamination is an essential step in producing a safe strawberry.
  • Anything that comes into contact with strawberries has the potential to infect. The source and quality of each contact dictates the potential for contamination. Water (used for irrigation and pesticide mixing) is a primary source of contamination.
  • All pesticides must only be used in strict accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Pesticides must comply with state, federal and local ordinances.
  • Non-composted manure is a source of human pathogens and should not be used in strawberry fields. Any practice using manure and/or compost should be closely managed.
  • Worker Health and Hygiene practices play a critical role in minimizing potential contamination. The availability of clean toilet facilities, hand washing stations, and keeping track of employee general health are all part of good employee hygiene practices.
  • A food safety program and trace-back practices establish accountability. The ability to trace back product from the consumer to the retailer to the shipment to the farm to the harvester is essential for quickly isolating the problem area and protecting the entire crop and industry. Documentation must be kept to help prove proper attention has been paid to risk prevention.
California Strawberry Commission
California Strawberry Commission