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Farm-to-Fork Food Safety Resources

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, November 10, 2006

Another hat tip to Lou Cooperhouse, Director at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, for taking the time to point out the following and for providing some excellent resources for the industry:

Food safety outbreaks have now occurred over the past few weeks in three very different value-added agricultural products, due to three different causes, and from three different bacterial organisms (E. coli 0157:H7 in spinach, C. botulism in bottled carrot juice, and Salmonella in tomatoes).

I wanted you to know that a number of excellent resources are available to your readers, including the agricultural extension agents and food science departments from state universities throughout our country. A link to extension offices nationally can be found at http://npic.orst.edu/countyext.htm

There are also some excellent publications on Good Agricultural Practices or GAP’s for agricultural producers. Among the ones I reference typically include:

This University of Maryland publication on GAPs http://www.jifsan.umd.edu/PDFs/GAPS_English/II__Good _Agricultural_Pract.pdf

The USDA Agricultural Research Service, which includes animal manure management strategies at this link, and has many other resources as well: http://fsrio.nal.usda.gov/document_fsheet.php?product_id=63

This document from the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), which published proceedings from a conference they held on GAPs from a 2003 conference, and the link to this is at http://www.fao.org/prods/GAP/archive/ gapatcoag_files/cl124fao_files/Y8704e.htm

Of course, as the Pundit has discussed, having GAPs is but the first food safety link in the chain to the consumer, as proactive “hurdle technologies” need to be employed at the field and packinghouse level and also “upstream” in value-added products, which include the product’s formulation, processing, packaging, and distribution… food safety in fact literally spans from farm to fork.

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