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Food Safety for Commercial Growers

Food Safety for Commercial Growers

Safe food handling is quickly becoming one of the most
important issues for producers in NC.

Major U.S. food companies are looking to tighten the nations’ existing
food safety net, possibly moving the government guidelines to mandatory and
requiring companies to prove that their current suppliers are complying.  The continued E.coli outbreaks and product recalls have moved food safety quickly
into the forefront of consumer minds. 
Produce buyers and companies are coming under more direct pressure to
have in place Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/ Good Handling Practices

For the last 4 years producers have heard about GAP/GHPs, N.C. Cooperative Extension has
spoken about it, and now it is hear – knocking on our FRONT door!

The “Guide To Minimize Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits
and Vegetables” is the foundation on which the food safety guidelines for fresh
produce rests.  The GAP/GHP offers
producers some guidance for the third party certifications that are being
required from some end markets.  The resultant
certification from the GAP/GHP audit will allow growers to be ready for the industry trends seen in
CA, ensuring they keep their existing markets, allowing for diversification of
those markets, and the continued livelihood of safe fresh fruits and

This webpage is designed to help heighten the awareness of
food safety with producers and move the industry towards implementation of some
food safety steps on their own farms.

The NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force has been formed and
would like to hear from your needs. For the time being, please send an email
to Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu to find answers.

Resources to Begin your Education in Food Safety

    • The voluntary guidelines and checklist presented here provide a

      pre‑harvest security resource and are designed to help the agricultural

      producer reduce security risks at the farm level. Each producer should

      review the guidelines and checklist to determine the recommendations

      most appropriate for his or her operations

  • Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of
    Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables

    • This
      guidance covers fresh-cut fruits and vegetables that have been minimally
      processed (e.g., no lethal kill step), and altered in form, by peeling,
      slicing, chopping, shredding, coring, or trimming, with or without washing or
      other treatment, prior to being packaged for use by the consumer or a retail
      establishment.  Examples of fresh-cut products are shredded lettuce, sliced
      tomatoes, salad mixes (raw vegetable salads), peeled baby carrots, broccoli
      florets, cauliflower florets, cut celery stalks, shredded cabbage, cut melon,
      sliced pineapple, and sectioned grapefruit.

  • NCSU GAP Produce Safety Factsheets- Commodity Specific guidelines 

  • Commodity Specific Guidelines from other Associations:

    • Lettuce and Leafy Greens

      • Prepared by members of the leafy green and Lettuce industry – International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, PMA, United, and Western Growers

    • Tomatoes

      • Prepared by the North American Tomato Trade Work Group

    • Tomatoes – T-GAPs

      • Prepared by the Florida Tomato Growers Association

    • Melons

      • Prepared by the Produce Industry Food Safety Initiative, PMA and United.

  • Fresh
    Produce USDA Third-Party Audit Verification Program

Other Resources



Webpage content by Diane Ducharme, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Area Specialized Agent for Small Fruits and Vegetables, Henderson , Haywood, and Buncombe Counties. 

Last updated 11/02/2007

Page Last Updated: 1 decade ago
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