HDC & FSA provide growers with fact sheet outlining causes of food poisoning in fresh produce

A new fact sheet for growers outlining the main causes of food poisoning in fresh produce production has been jointly released by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Monitoring Microbial Food Safety of Fresh Produce, written by Dr Jim Monaghan and Dr Mike Hutchison, gives growers an overview of the main food poisoning organisms and summarises the possible indicator species for which growers can test.

It also shows them how to interpret their test results and explains what action to take if they need to. The fact sheet is part of a wider food safety package by the FSA and HDC that was produced on the back of an FSA review.

The review examined those practices that reduce the risk of microbial contamination during the production of crops that are likely to be eaten uncooked.

It was made in an effort to understand more about how UK growers have been addressing these risks and showed that they do need better guidance on microbial testing, particularly of water, and on what indicator bacteria should be monitored.

The review also showed that growers want more guidance on interpreting the relative risks in the areas of water, manure and worker hygiene.

Soft fruit grower Harriet Duncalfe of H&H Duncalfe in Cambridgeshire said: "This fact sheet will increase growers' knowledge of how to interpret the results of the many tests undertaken by fresh produce businesses for their customers."

The remainder of the food safety package will include web-based tools to support risk assessments in water use, manure or composted manure inputs and worker hygiene.

In addition, a series of seminars in October and November will covering the main fresh produce production areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


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