Being United Makes All The Difference

Welcome to United Fresh 

Renew Membership

United Fresh BrandStorm

Sign-up for our newsletter

White Papers and Technical Resources

Papaya Best Practices and Food Safety Checklist

Following outbreaks in summer 2019, United Fresh and the Texas International Produce Association coordinated multiple meetings with the Mexican papaya industry, supply chain members, researchers, and representatives from FDA and the Mexican National Service of Agro-Food Health, Safety, and Quality (SENASICA) to address the food safety challenges associated with the production and handling of papaya. Commodity-specific measures were desired, similar to the approaches taken by the tomato and leafy greens industries, to align the entire growing and packing industry of papayas in Mexico under the same food safety protocols.

The first edition of the resulting food safety best practices, published in April 2020, may be downloaded below in both English and Spanish. The webinar discussing this document can be found below.

Download the Papaya Best Practices (English)
Download Las Mejores Prácticas de Papaya (Español)
Watch Papaya Best Practices Webinar (English)

In November 2020, the USDA-ARS developed a paper called “Salmonella inactivation and sponge/microfiber mediated cross-contamination during papaya wash with chlorine or peracetic acid as sanitizer”. This research supports the best practices contained in the guidelines. That document can be found here.

Continuing in the 2020 efforts, a papaya safety checklist was developed in May 2021 to supplement the Best Practices Guide and to serve as a self-audit that growers may use to assess their existing practices. This checklist may be adapted for use as a 3rd party audit addendum accompanying holistic GAP programs such as the Produce GAPs Harmonized Standard.

Download the Papaya Safety Checklist (English)
Download la lista de verificación de inocuidad de la papaya (Español)
Watch Papaya Safety Checklist Webinar (English)
Watch la lista de verificación de inocuidad de la papaya (Español)

Tomato Guidelines

United Fresh is pleased to share the release of the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain (Third Edition).

Download the Guidelines

Microbiological Testing of Fresh Produce

In 2010 the United Fresh Food Safety Council developed a White Paper on considerations in developing and using microbiological sampling and testing procedures if used as part of a food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable products.

Download the 2010 Micro White Paper
The 2010 paper discusses pros and cons of testing in different situations. The 2020 document is a guide food safety professionals can use as a reminder of the numerous factors that should be considered when developing a sampling and testing program to detect pathogens in finished product. This includes the “how-tos” of a testing program, as well as how to interpret, act upon, and communicate a positive finding. Further, consideration should be given to managing supplier and customer expectations, including situations in which they are also testing product.
Download the 2020 White Paper

Most recently, a subgroup of the council began discussing misconceptions, and opportunities, associated with field sampling. This document will be updated as it continues to evolve. 

Download the Draft Field Sampling Misconceptions & Considerations Paper

The subgroup also used outbreak information provided by FDA to reverse engineer a preharvest sampling plan that, with assumptions, could have detected the high level of contamination that presumably caused the outbreak. Visual illustrations and the background calculations are provided to support the explanation of this thought experiment.

Download the Reverse Engineered PreHarvest Sampling Plan Thought Experiment
Download the Visual Illustrations for the Reverse Engineered PreHarvest Sampling Plan Thought Experiment
Download the Calculations that Support the Reverse Engineered PreHarvest Sampling Plan Thought Experiment

Time-Temp Control Resources

The fresh produce industry lacks a kill step and therefore must rely on multiple hurdles to reduce the risk of illness associated with these products. The reliance on temperature as a control is the subject of much debate, and new regulations and associated guidance documents trigger additional questions regarding the instances in which temperature control must be specified and monitored lest food safety be compromised.

United Fresh has developed following resources to help producers navigate this complex issue. For additional information, contact Dr. Jennifer McEntire or Dr. Emily Griep.

Download The Generation of Heat in Fresh Produce
Download Time Temperature Control for Produce Safety

For any questions on these resources or to report broken links, contact Katie McGowan, Manager, Food Safety Programs, via email at or by phone at (202) 303-3402.