United Fresh Produce Association released Dec. 22 updated tomato food safety guidelines.
With the input of more than 100 stakeholders, the Food Safety Programs and Auditing Protocol for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain represents âa harmonized food safety audit protocol identifying policies and practices that the fresh tomato industry expects its facilities to have in place to minimize the microbiological hazards associated with fresh and fresh-cut tomato production and handling,â the association said in a news release.
The updated guidelines are an outgrowth of Unitedâs 2008 edition of the Commodity Specific Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain.
The latest document includes four sets of tomato food safety protocols:
- open field production;
- harvest and field packing;
- greenhouse; packinghouse;
- and repacking and distribution.
Each set contains auditable requirements that should be attainable in place for any North American fresh tomato operation, regardless of region, size, growing practice or subcommodity handled, according to the release.
United Fresh said the next step is a training course for government and private sector auditors on how to perform audits according to the new guidelines.
Review or download Food Safety Programs and Auditing Protocol for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain 2009 here.