WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Fresh Food Safety & Technology Council has developed a document, Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry, that helps guide the fresh produce industry in developing practical and scientifically sound “search and destroy” programs for Listeria. The guide is free and available online for United members and non-members.
Two recent outbreaks have demonstrated the vulnerability of some fresh and fresh-cut operations to Listeria harborage leading to product contamination. Some customers and supplier operations have implemented Listeria testing programs without a good understanding of their scientific validity. While the processed foods industry and FDA have long had guidance for Listeria monitoring and control, guidance applicable to the unique conditions of fresh produce handling operations has been lacking. This guide describes in-depth handling techniques for fresh and fresh-cut produce, which offers some unique opportunities and challenges.
The guide is applicable to all fresh and fresh-cut produce operations, including field and field packing, packinghouse and other produce handling operations such as re-pack, value-added and transport/distribution to retail/foodservice. All produce handling operations are encouraged to use this guide to 1) determine their level of vulnerability to Listeria harborage that may lead to produce contamination, and 2) if vulnerable, to develop and implement an effective Listeria monitoring and control program.
If you have questions regarding food safety, please contact Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3411.
Founded in 1904, the United Fresh Produce Association serves companies at the forefront of the global fresh and fresh-cut produce industry, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, industry suppliers and allied associations. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and Western Regional office in Salinas, Calif., United Fresh and its members work year-round to make a difference for the produce industry by driving policies that increase consumption of fresh produce, shaping critical legislative and regulatory action, providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health, and developing educational programs and business opportunities to assist member companies in growing successful businesses. For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org or call 202-303-3400.