Food transporters have food safety guidance

Guidance for Industry – Sanitary Transportation of Food

This guidance document sets forth FDA’s current thoughts on guidance for food transporters.   I have highlighted a few areas and the whole document is linked above.  NC MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety Curriculum – Tier 2 training include this guidance in ongoing trainings across NC ( to find a training near you, visit http://www.ncfreshproducesafety.org under “Trainings & Events”).

In the discussion,  problem areas for contamination  (physical, chemical, or biological)  during food transport are highlighted:

  • Improper refrigeration or temperature control of food products (temperature abuse).
  • Improper management of transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport) to preclude cross-contamination, including improper sanitation, backhauling hazardous materials, not maintaining tanker wash records, improper disposal of wastewater, and aluminum phosphide fumigation methods in railcar transit;
  • Improper packing of transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport), including incorrect use of packing materials and poor pallet quality;
  • Improper loading practices, conditions, or equipment, including improper sanitation of loading equipment, not using dedicated units where appropriate, inappropriate loading patterns, and transporting mixed loads that increase the risk for cross-contamination;
  • Improper unloading practices, conditions, or equipment, including improper sanitation of equipment and leaving raw materials on loading docks after hours;
  • Poor pest control in transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport);
  • Lack of driver/employee training and/or supervisor/manager/owner knowledge of food safety and/or security;
  • Poor transportation unit design and construction;
  • Inadequate preventive maintenance for transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport), resulting in roof leaks, gaps in doors, and dripping condensation or ice accumulations;
  • Poor employee hygiene;
  • Inadequate policies for the safe and/or secure transport (or storage during transport) of foods, e.g., lack of or improper use of security seals;
  • Improper handling and tracking of rejected loads and salvaged, reworked, and returned products or products destined for disposal; and
  • Improper holding practices for food products awaiting shipment or inspection, including unattended product, delayed holding of product, shipping of product while in quarantine, and poor rotation and throughput.

Recommendations on priority areas for transporter to concentrate efforts include:

  • To address some of the problems enumerated above, we recommend that persons engaged in food transport concentrate their efforts at this time on the following, broadly applicable preventive controls:
  • Appropriate temperature control during transport;
  • Sanitation, including:
    • Monitoring and ensuring the sanitation and condition of transportation vehicles as appropriate;
    • Pest control; and
    • Sanitation associated with loading/unloading procedures;
  • Appropriate packaging/packing of food products and transportation units (e.g., good quality pallets, correct use of packing materials);
  • Good communications between shipper, transporter and receiver; and
  • Employee awareness and training.

Webinar:Food Safety Modernization Act

January 26, 2010 – NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force presents a recorded webinar to learn more about the recent Food Safety Modernization Act. The webinar will be moderated by Diane Ducharme, a co-chair of the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, with N.C. MarketReady at N.C. State University and presented by Debbie Hamrick with NC Farm Bureau Federation, who is a co-chair of NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force’s Working Group 3: Industry and Policy.   Questions during the presentation will be answered and posted at a later date.   Additional questions from this presentation are being gathered – please contact Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu.

To view this webinar recording, click on Elluminate Webinar FSMA – January 26 Updates.  Sign in as a guest, allowing Elluminate and Java to load.  This should automatically start playing but if not, click on the play button in the bottom left-hand corner.

More information about the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, the NC’s Fresh Produce Safety Initiatives and training opportunities can be found on:  http://www.ncfreshproducesafety.org

HACCP Information

The more meetings I attend this year, along with the wording of the New Food Safety Modernization Act, I think HACCP information is going to become more important.   As well as food defense information.  Here are some links to HACCP information sheets.

HACCP: An Overview

Packing House food safety and security

FDA HACCP Resources

GAPS Harmonization

Tired of looking at different 3rd Party Auditors’ questions to pass your Audit?  Recognizing this as a true  and costly issue for growers,  United Fresh has tried to tackle these issues to “harmonize” the audit matrices.  Take a look – might give you some good ideas as you develop your own food safety plan

Draft Harmonized Standards – 

Field Operation and Harvesting

Post-Harvest Operations

Food Safety Enhancement Act Update

Yesterday (12/8/10), The House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released a statement after the House passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act ( HR 3082)

From News Release by House Majority Leader Hoyer web page : http://www.majorityleader.gov/content/hoyer-statement-food-safety-enhancement-act-0

“This bill provides the FDA expanded authority to inspect records relating to our food supply and to increase inspections of high risk facilities, provides protection for whistleblowers that bring attention to important safety information, and it provides for a faster, more effective FDA response in case we do see a food emergency. With the creation of a more accurate registry of food facilities serving American consumers, improved traceability of contaminated food, and stronger authority to quarantine and recall dangerous products, the FDA will be empowered to take quick action to address outbreaks and save lives.

“It is important that we move this legislation forward so that the FDA has the resources it needs to address threats to our Nation’s food supply and to provide consumers with increased confidence in the system.”

BACKGROUND Informati0on:

The House may  block the passage of this bill due to the bill pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority.  More on this can be found on: http://www.rollcall.com/news/-201012-1.html?ET=rollcall:e9341:80088462a:&st=email

The Senate passed S510 (75-23) on Nov. 30, 2010 .  The final version did include language from the Tester Amendment exempting small food processors and small farms from many of the bill’s provisions.  Here are some of the farm exemptions:

  • · Farms would qualify for an exemption from the produce safety standards in section 105 of S. 510 if, during the previous 3 year period, the average monetary value of the food they sold was less than $500,000, but only so long as the majority of sales were to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3rd party food brokers) and were in the same state where the farm harvested or produced the food or within 275 miles of the farm.
  • · Disclosure:  Any food sold by a facility that opts for exemptions would have to prominently and conspicuously provide the name and address of the facility that produced it on a food packaging label, or at the point of purchase, as appropriate.
  • · In the event of an active investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak that is directly linked to a facility or farm exempted under this section, or if the Secretary determines that it is necessary to protect the public health and prevent or mitigate a foodborne illness outbreak based on conduct or conditions associated with a facility or farm that are material to the safety of food, the Secretary may withdraw the exemption provided to such facility under this section.  No activities under this limitation expand existing FDA authorities to inspect farms.

Fresh Produce Safety Symposium 2010- September 9th

Fresh Produce Safety Symposium 2010

September 9, 2010 from 9-2:30 PM at the NC State Fair Grounds, Martin Building

Outbreaks of food-borne illness related to contamination of fresh produce by human
pathogens continue to occur. Federal legislation has been proposed that will result
in new rules and regulation for farmers in North Carolina and nationally. There is
considerable debate about the application of these proposed rules.   This symposium
is targeted to growers, industry, academics, policy-makers, regulators, extension agents with the primary focus on the professional recommendations for “Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHP)” for fresh produce safety and protection of public health. Speakers will relay the details of fresh produce food safety initiatives and research in their states, adding both regional and national perspectives.

Speakers include members of the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force:

Dr. Keith Baldwin

Dr. Benjamin Chapman

Diane Ducharme

Dr. Chris Gunter

Dr. Trevor Phister

And invited speakers:

Dr. Angie Fraser, Associate Professor/Food Safety Education Specialist, Clemson University

Dr. Kathryn Boyd, Clemson University

Dr. Renee Boyer, Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech

Dr. Rob Williams Associate Professor and Department Extension Leader, Virginia Tech

Dr. Michelle Danyluk, Assistant Professor, University of Florida

Dr. Larry Beuchat, Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia

Leanne Skelton- On detail from USDA as: Senior Policy Analyst, Produce Safety Staff Office of Food Safety, CFSAN, FDA

$20 Registration Fee Required.  Registration deadline is September 6th

To register or for more information, contact:

Lisa Gordon

NCSU Dept. of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences

129 Schaub Hall

(919) 515-2956

lisa_gordon@ncsu.edu

Funding from NC A&T State University.

Sponsored by: the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,

the North Carolina Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, and NC Cooperative Extension

More information can be found at: NC Fresh Produce Safety Symposium

NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Efforts for Farmers Toted in National Magazine

In a recently published article in the Food Safety Magazine entitled ” REGULATORY REPORT Produce Safety: FDA Reaches Out to Producers and Packers” , the NC Fresh Produce Task Force’s efforts were highlighted.  The high level of involvement from this task force was recognized – from facilitating NC as one of the designated F DA’s listening sessions states and going several steps further to gather farmer’s key issues throughout the state and submitting them formally to FDA’s open docket on the upcoming proposed rule.

To quote from this article ” States also invited us to participate in listening sessions. Some states took our outreach concept to a higher level of involvement. The North Carolina Task Force on Produce Safety not only invited us to the state for a listening session and tours of farms, but went on to organize 17 more sessions on its own around the state. The Task Force has since submitted to the open docket many pages of insightful comments from the more than 300 growers who attended those state-level sessions and made their views known.”  This effort was largely driven by the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Member, Debbie Hamrick from the NC Farm Bureau, in her role as Co-Chair of  Working Group that works to ensure that industry and public policy decisions regarding fresh produce safety are informed by science-based information.

A special Thank You and Congratulations goes out to all those farmers, extension agents, regulators, industry representatives, and task force member that are involved in this Fresh Produce Safety Initiative!