Lesson 2.3: Food Safety Begins on the Farm: Implementing GAPs ...

Lesson 2.3: Food Safety Begins on the Farm: Implementing GAPs ...

Lesson 2.3 Food Safety Begins on the Farm Definitions and template for: Assignment 2.3 Definition Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Procedures that describe how routine operations such as receiving, storage, labeling, shipping, etc are to be conducted may need to be established to ensure that products and packaging materials are handled and processed appropriately to ensure their safety and wholesomeness. Definition Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) The common name given to the sanitation procedures in food production plants which are required by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA. It is considered one of the prerequisite programs of HACCP. Transcript of grower interview Name of Interviewee: Bill Tinsaft Name of Interviewer: Ansel Weber Regarding: Farm practices for growing fresh fruits and vegetables Date: August 13, 2006 Notes: All interviewer comments and questions appear in bold; all responses from interviewee appear in regular type. Mr. Tinsaft, please tell me what crops you grow on your farm. I grow cabbage, carrots, beans, and tomatoes. Do you do any packing on the farm? Yes. I pack tomatoes and trim some cabbage. Do you use a flume tank for the tomatoes? Yes. We disinfect the water with a bleach solution. Do you monitor the disinfectant levels, pH, and temperature? We try to monitor the disinfectant levels in the morning and at lunch. I do not monitor the pH that often since I always use my well water and it seems pretty constant when I mix it with the disinfectant. Do you monitor the pulp temperature of the tomatoes? No. Should I? Well, yes. It is well documented that wash water will enter the stem end of the tomato if the flume water is cooler than the tomato pulp temperature. This can result in

contamination of the tomato and if that tomato is consumed it could make someone sick. Monitoring flume and pulp temperature is very important. Do you have a sanitation schedule for your cabbage trim line? We usually do a visual inspection of it before we use it. If it is dirty, someone cleans it and uses a sanitizer before we run any cabbage down the line. Do you have records of this cleaning schedule? No. How do you ship your products? Commercial trucks. Do you inspect the trucks prior to loading them? Yeah, because I load them and notice if they are dirty. Do you keep records? No What do you do if the trucks are dirty? If it is just debris, I sweep it out. If they are really bad I send the driver away and make him clean it. Do you employ farm workers to assist with planting, harvesting and trimming? Yes. Do you offer health and hygiene training for your workers? Yes. We train all of our workers at the beginning of the season. We use educational materials created by this GAPs group at Cornell University. I think that is where they are located. I think handwashing is really important, so I am a stickler about it. My farm manager knows how important it is to me and so he is constantly reminding people about it. He even hung up some funny posters that talk about hand washing and toilet use. Do all of your workers speak English? No, many speak Spanish, but our farm manager speaks Spanish so he usually does the training. It seems to work OK. We go through a lot more soap and paper towels than before so I think they are washing their hands more. Do you keep records of your worker-training program? Yes, but sometimes we get new workers in the middle of the season and then they dont get the training. Do you have an illness reporting protocol for your workers? No. Many workers want to work and probably do not always tell us when it is something minor. If they are really sick, we notice and send them home. Do you offer them other jobs, such as driving the tractor? No. We have only a few people who know how to drive a tractor and that job pays more, so the normal driver is not going to pick instead of driving. We send sick people home and I think that works best for us. Do you provide toilets and hand washing stations in the field? Yes. Do you have a schedule for cleaning them? Yes, we contract with a company and they come and clean them once a week. Do you ask for any verification of the service stops from the company who cleans and services the toilets? Yes. Every time the person cleans them, he marks a chart on the door as a record of his stop. Every month I get a bill and it details how many times they stopped.

Do you have a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for toilet sanitation? No. Not even sure what that is. Do you check the facilities to see if once a week is enough to keep them clean and well stocked? Not specifically, but I use them myself, so I know they are OK most of the time. Do you monitor workers in the field to insure they are using the facilities? Specifically, do you monitor that they wash their hands after using the toilet and do you make certain they are not peeing and pooping in the field? No. I am not always out there in the field with them and am not sure I really want to watch people go to the toilet and wash their hands. Do your workers use any knives, other equipment, or reusable harvest containers in the field? All of our containers are single use boxes, so they go from the farm to the distributor and I never see them again. The workers use knives to harvest the cabbage, and string to tie up the tomato plants. I would like to ask you a few questions about your harvest containers. Where do you store them? I store them in the packing shed on pallets. Usually, we only assemble as many as we need for that day. It keeps the clutter down and makes moving around the small packing shed a little easier on everyone. Do you have any problems with birds or rodents in the packing shed? No. We had trouble with the big doors in the past; birds would get in and roost in the rafters, so we put up some netting and changed a few things with the rafters, so now they do not roost. Occasionally we get a bird inside, but it is really rare and they do not stay. We have rodent traps that we check often and rodents are really not a problem for us. Now, about the harvest aids, do you wash and sanitize them? No. We use them in the dirt. Even if I were to clean them, with the first cut they would be dirty again and there is no way we are washing them after each cut. Do you irrigate any of your crops? Yes. Cabbage, beans and carrots are on overhead irrigation from a pond and the tomatoes are on drip irrigation from my well. Is your well capped and do you test it? It is capped and we test it yearly. It is also the drinking water for my house. What do you test it for? Nitrates and generic E. coli. Do you test the pond water? Yes. I only test the pond water for generic E. coli. How often do you test the pond water? 3 times a year. Do you have a copy of one of those tests? Sure do. Here it is. I usually look at it to see how many bacteria there were in the water. If I see higher numbers than usual, I get concerned and try to determine if there is something wrong that I can fix. Do you use manure? Yes. I get it from the local dairy farmer. When do you apply it? I apply it in the fall. We are no longer allowed to apply it in the winter due to run-off, so I

try to apply it in the fall. Do you know if it is applied at least 120 days prior to harvest? Usually. Do you keep records? No. Do you use compost? Sometimes, but not often. I get my compost from a local guy and he seems pretty knowledgeable. Do you request compost records from him? No. I do not use it very much so I never really think about it. Do you apply pesticides? Yes. I am a certified applicator, so I do most of it myself. Occasionally, I contract it out. I keep really good records of all that information since it is required by law. Do you have a crisis management plan for your farm? Nothing formal. I went to this extension workshop once where they offered this course on crisis management. I had never really thought about it before that time. After the workshop, I came home and wrote down all the important phone numbers such as my distributor, lawyer, and important company contacts in case of an emergency. Thank you for your time Mr. Tinsaft Not a problem. I hope this information will help your team provide me with some food safety guidance. My buyers are really into it now and if I am going to stay competitive I will need to implement GAPs and develop a farm food safety plan. Clean Hands Assessment Worksheet Management Area Worker training on handwashing and personal hygiene for food safety Worker illness reporting Clean toilet facilities for farm laborers, visitors and customers and records are kept. Handwashing practices of field workers Best

Practice All workers attend regular training programs focused on good personal hygiene AND handwashing is emphasized daily AND language and training materials are appropriate for workers. Workers are required to report illness AND if ill, give nonfood contact jobs AND supervisors have permission to reassign workers who appear to be ill. Clean toilet and handwashing facilities are provided for everyone. They are monitored daily to insure cleanliness. Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOPs) for all aspects of toilet and handwashing station maintenance are written AND records are kept documenting their implementation. All workers practice proper handwashing and wash their hands before work, before and after eating meals, and toilet use. Minor Adjustments Needed All workers attend one training focused on hygiene provided in their language, but workers arriving mid season are not trained. Concerns Exist; Examine Practice Training is provided sporadically OR is presented in a language not well understood by workers. Needs Improvement; Prioritize Changes Here No training on handwashing or

personal hygiene for food safety is provided to workers. Workers are requested to report illness but no accommodations are made for ill workers. Workers are not requested to report illness and no accommodations are made for sick workers. Worker illness is not monitored AND there is no standard procedure for workers reporting illness. Clean toilet and handwashing facilities are provided BUT are not monitored for cleanliness. Records are kept documenting their implementation but no SOPs are written. Clean toilet and handwashing facilities are provided BUT are not monitored for cleanliness. SOPs are understood but not written, there are no records to support implementation. Toilet facilities are not provided at any location on the farm OR there are no SSOPs in place for toilet and handwashing facilities. All workers practice proper handwashing but do not always wash their hands at the critical times. Very few workers wash their hands properly or at

critical times. Handwashing is not monitored or a priority. Clean Soil Assessment Worksheet Management Area Timing manure application to planned fruit or vegetables acreage Composting conditions for manure and bedding Record keeping of pesticide applications (required by law) Crisis management training and planning Best Practice Manure is applied and incorporated into the soil 120 days prior to harvest of a produce crop OR properly composted manure is applied. Time between manure application and harvest is ALWAYS maximized and recorded. Compost producer managers compost pile to achieve a high temperature (131 to 161 F) for at least 5 days AND aerates the pile several times. Records are kept.

Minor Adjustments Needed Manure is applied and incorporated into the soil 120 days prior to harvest of a produce crop OR properly composted manure is applied. Time between manure application and harvest is ALWAYS maximized. No records. The compost pile is monitored for moisture and aerated or turned several times to insure a high temperature of 131 to 160 F for at least 5 days. No records are kept. Records are kept in accordance with regulatory agencies. Information recorded for all pesticide applications include date, chemical name and number, rate, weather, target pest, area treated, and ID of applicator. Records are easily accessible. Farm owner/operator has received crisis management training and a written crisis management plan is in place. Records are kept in accordance with regulatory agencies but may not be as comprehensive as outlined. Records are accessible. Farm owner/operator has received crisis management training and has described a crisis management plan. Concerns Exist; Examine Practice Manure is applied and incorporated into the soil at

least 60 days prior to harvest of a produce crop. Needs Improvement; Prioritize Changes Here Manure is applied to the soil less than 60 days prior to harvest of a produce crop. This application may be in the form of animal bedding that was applied as mulch between rows. The compost pile is kept moist and aerated or turned at least twice. Temperatures are not monitored but pile is hot to the touch for at least 5 days. The resulting pile has viable weed seeds present. No records kept. Records are kept of chemicals applied and the location of application, but documentation is incomplete and difficult to access. Pile is more like a manure pile than a compost pile and no high temperatures were monitored or observed OR nothing is known about the composting conditions. Farm owner is aware of crisis management but has no plan and does not believe his operation requires one. No one on the farm has had crisis management training. No plans for managing a crisis are in place. Chemicals used are known by memory or by invoices. Records are incomplete or nonexistent until reporting is required.

Clean Water As sessment Worksheet Management Area Source of irrigation water for produce crops Testing water quality Water quality management in dump tanks, hydro coolers, or other water tanks Temperature management of water Best Practice Irrigation water is from a municipal, treated water source or from ground water obtained from a properly constructed, capped well, in good condition, that could be readily treated if indicator organisms (generic E. coli) were detected in annual water tests. Water quality is tested annually for wells or three times during the season for surface water. Water is tested for generic E. coli, E. coli numbers are quantified and records are kept. Wash water is changed several times a day and disinfectant is added. Levels are monitored continuously to maintain effectiveness. Water pH is monitored and adjusted

to between 6.5 and 7.5. Water temperature and pulp temperatures are monitored hourly to 10 F warmer than produce. SSOPs are in place. Minor Adjustments Needed Irrigation water is sourced from a surface water source of known microbial quality. Concerns Exist; Examine Practice Irrigation water is drawn from a surface water source with no knowledge of its microbial quality. Needs Improvement; Prioritize Changes Here Irrigation water is sourced from a pond or other water source that has daily visits by livestock or wild animals OR little is known about the water source. Water quality is tested annually for wells or three times during the season for surface water. Water is tested for generic E. coli and the numbers are quantified. No records are kept. Water is changed twice per day. Disinfectant is added and pH is adjusted. Disinfectant levels and pH are monitored every 1 to 2 hours. Water quality is tested annually for wells or three times during the season for surface water. Water is tested for generic E. coli but the numbers are not

quantified and no records are kept. Disinfectant is added but not monitored. No pH monitoring. No standard water testing procedures. Water temperature and pulp temperature are monitored once a day at beginning of the run. SSOPs are in place. Water temperature is Water temperature and pulp monitored once a day at temperature are not monitored. beginning of the run. SSOPs No SSOPs. No records. are not in place. No records are kept. Disinfectants are not used in dump tank, flume water, or hydro coolers. Water is changed sporadically based on a visual assessment of clarity or cleanliness. Clean Contac t Surfac es Ass essment Worksheet Management Area Washing and sanitation of harvest aids including all gloves, knives and aprons, etc. Storage of containers used for packing produce Packing line sanitation and inspection Shipping truck

sanitation Best Practice All harvest aids are washed, rinsed, and sanitized at the start of each work session, after breaks or as needed throughout the day. Minor Adjustments Needed All harvest aids are washed, rinsed and sanitized daily. Concerns Exist; Examine Practice All harvest aides are washed, rinsed, and sanitized once per week. Needs Improvement; Prioritize Changes Here Harvest aids are not washed, rinsed or sanitized except at the beginning of the season. Containers used for packing and shipping produce are stored in an area that is covered, and they are stored off the ground to insure that bins are not exposed to rodents, dust or condensation. All packing line, brushes, and sponges are washed and sanitized daily. Packing line is inspected before each operation to assure cleanliness. SSOPs are in place and records are kept. Prior to loading produce on truck or other vehicle, the vehicle is inspected for cleanliness, odors, and debris. The truck is cleaned and sanitized if needed. Records are kept.

Containers for packing produce are stored in a covered area but not off the ground. Containers are stored in a covered area but the area is accessible to birds and other pests. Containers are stored in the open, on the ground, exposed to dust and animals or other outdoor conditions. Packing lines are washed on a regular schedule, problem areas are spot treated. Packing lines are inspected weekly for cleanliness. Records are kept. Crop and soil residue is removed and packing areas are cleaned but not on a regular schedule. Packing lines are only cleaned at the beginning of the season or not at all. Prior to loading produce on truck or other conveyance, the vehicle is inspected for cleanliness, odors and debris. The truck is cleaned if needed. No records are kept. The trucks are usually inspected and appear clean, however no washing and sanitizing is done. No records are kept. The trucks are not inspected for cleanliness; produce is just

loaded on the truck. Clean Hands Ac tion P lan Date: _________________ Reviewer: ___________________________ Commodity Produced: ____________________________________ Management Area Best Practice Minor Adjustment Concerns Exist Prioritize Changes Here Your Plans to Reduce Risk Action for Improvement Worker training on handwashing and personal hygiene for food safety Worker illness reporting Clean toilet facilities for farm laborers, visitors and customers and records are kept. Handwashing practices of field workers Person Responsible Estimated

Cost Target Date Clean Soil Ac tion P lan Date: _________________ Reviewer: ___________________________ Commodity Produced: ____________________________________ Management Area Best Practice Minor Adjustment Concerns Exist Prioritize Changes Here Your Plans to Reduce Risk Action for Improvement Timing manure application to planned fruit or vegetables acreage Composting conditions for manure and bedding Record keeping of pesticide applications (required by law) Crisis management training and planning Person Responsible Estimated

Cost Target Date Clean Water Ac tion P lan Date: _________________ Reviewer: ___________________________ Commodity Produced: ____________________________________ Management Area Best Practice Minor Adjustment Concerns Exist Prioritize Changes Here Your Plans to Reduce Risk Action for Improvement Source of irrigation water for produce crops. Testing water quality Water quality management in dump tanks, hydro coolers, or other water tanks Temperature management of water Person Responsible Estimated Cost

Target Date Clean Contac t Surfac es Ac tion P lan Date: _________________ Reviewer: ___________________________ Commodity Produced: ____________________________________ Management Area Best Practice Minor Adjustment Concerns Exist Prioritize Changes Here Your Plans to Reduce Risk Action for Improvement Washing and sanitation of harvest aids including all gloves, knives and aprons, etc. Storage of containers used for packing produce Packing line sanitization and inspection Shipping truck sanitation Person Responsible Estimated Cost

Target Date Food Safety Begins on the Farm Assignment 2.3 Farm Assessment Summary Assignment 2.3 Name: _____________________________Date: ___________________________ Your Farm Assessment is almost done. All you need to do now is summarize all of your findings and report back to Bill Tinsaft so that he may implement them on his farm. Write a letter to Bill Tinsaft explaining the assessment process and overall results. Be sure to explain the following: What is a Farm Assessment? Summary of the top 3 management issues as determined by your assessment results. Be sure to justify and explain your selections. Attach Action Plans and Assessment Worksheets for his information and review. Remember to be thorough and clear in your writing. Proof read your work! You may discuss the farm assessment with other classmates and group members but you need to turn in your own cover letter and farm assessment summary. Letter and Farm Assessment Summary is due:____________________________________________ National GAPs Program 2007 Department of Food Science Department of Education Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 www.gaps.cornell.edu

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