AN OVERVIEW OF CURRENT UK FRESH PRODUCE FARMING PRACTICES THAT MINIMISE THE RISK OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS OUTBREAKS ASSOCIATED WITH READY TO EAT FRESH PRODUCE
As a consequence of recent outbreaks of food borne illness associated with consumption of fresh produce, there is increased scrutiny of the microbiological risks associated with the consumption of ready to eat produce within the UK retail sector This project was funded to summarise the UK industry approach to managing risk in fresh produce production and identify best practices and areas of risk. Copies of quality assurance scheme codes of practice for fresh produce growers were reviewed from a food safety viewpoint against the stipulations of Codex Alimentarius. In general, all of the guides require good practices conducive with the production of food that is free from human pathogens. A survey of growers was undertaken to assess compliance with these codes and to identify areas in the codes that growers found difficult to comply with or to implement. Growers find it difficult to risk assess water sources used for irrigation and water usage. Furthermore, the selection of bacterial indicators that were encountered was diverse and growers experienced difficulty in choosing appropriate indicators to test for, and in using the results of these tests as the basis of informed decisions. Large growers supplying the UK multiple retail chains are required by their customers to comply with one or more assurance code as a condition for the sale of their produce. Small growers that supply farmers markets and wholesalers are under little or no pressure from their customers to do the same. This disparity in supply chains suggest that moves to encourage wholesalers to comply with assurance schemes would help reduce the risks to UK consumers from the consumption of fresh produce.
Monaghan, J.M., Thomas , D.J.I., Hutchison, M.L. and Goodburn, K. (2012). AN OVERVIEW OF CURRENT UK FRESH PRODUCE FARMING PRACTICES THAT MINIMISE THE RISK OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS OUTBREAKS ASSOCIATED WITH READY TO EAT FRESH PRODUCE . Acta Hortic. 936, 19-26
food safety, fresh produce, QA schemes