Food Safety Resources

General Resources

Beginning in 2002 with development of the Food Safety Toolkit, Glades Crop Care has proudly maintained a leadership role in developing and implementing food safety programs for growers, harvest crews and facilities where Florida’s valuable fresh produce commodities are cooled, packed, processed and shipped. During the Food Safety Initiative project funded by the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, we introduced over 300 farming entities to the principals of food safety—at no charge to the farming community! Since then, we have continued to work closely with farmers and packers throughout the eastern U.S to help them develop and implement tailor-made food safety programs to meet the specific needs of their operations.

We firmly believe that the best way to insure the safety of our fresh produce industry is to make sure the community has all the tools it needs at its disposal. Some items, such as standard operating procedures and record-keeping forms, are best prepared on a customized, site-specific basis. Others form a body of regulatory, scientific and industry-guided information that all participants can use in this critical effort.

We have gathered resource material relevant to all aspects of fresh produce food safety so that growers and packers can have access to this important information, regardless if they are past, current or potential users of our consultation services.

  1. Principles and Practices of Food Safety for Vegetable Production in Florida

    Amy Simonne

    “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the 1990s up to 12% of reported foodborne illness outbreaks were linked to fresh produce. Foodborne illness is a result of contamination by harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms on food such as fresh produce. These contaminants are classified into three categories: biological (bacteria, virus, and parasite), chemical, and physical agents. Based on the current CDC data, 90% of foodborne illnesses come from biological agents. Many produce operations and farms have gone out of business after foodborne illness outbreaks were traced back to them. Foodborne illnesses can result in litigation and regulatory actions that may bring financial hardship to growers and producers. Furthermore, many major retail outlets now require their produce suppliers to document their food safety practices by means of certification or documentation. Growers of fresh produce need to keep food safety considerations in mind for their operations.”

  2. ISO 9000 Quality Management System Description

    ISO 9000 essentials:

    • This section concisely describes the essential features of the ISO 9000 family:
      • The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices. It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.
      • ISO 9001:2008 is the standard that provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organizations can be certified – although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard.
      • The other standards in the family cover specific aspects such as fundamentals and vocabulary, performance improvements, documentation, training, and financial and economic aspects.
    • Why an organization should implement ISO 9001:2008:
      • Without satisfied customers, an organization is in peril! To keep customers satisfied, the organization needs to meet their requirements.
      • The ISO 9001:2008 standard provides a tried and tested framework for taking a systematic approach to managing the organization’s processes so that they consistently turn out product that satisfies customers’ expectations.
    • How the ISO 9001:2008 model works:
      • The requirements for a quality system have been standardized – but many organizations like to think of themselves as unique. So how does ISO 9001:2008 allow for the diversity of say, on the one hand, a “Mr. and Mrs.” enterprise, and on the other, to a multinational manufacturing company with service components, or a public utility, or a government administration?
      • The answer is that ISO 9001:2008 lays down what requirements your quality system must meet, but does not dictate how they should be met in any particular organization. This leaves great scope and flexibility for implementation in different business sectors and business cultures, as well as in different national cultures.
    • Checking that it works:
      • The standard requires the organization itself to audit its ISO 9001:2008-based quality system to verify that it is managing its processes effectively – or, to put it another way, to check that it is fully in control of its activities.
      • In addition, the organization may invite its clients to audit the quality system in order to give them confidence that the organization is capable of delivering products or services that will meet their requirements.
      • Lastly, the organization may engage the services of an independent quality system certification body to obtain an ISO 9001:2008 certificate of conformity. This last option has proved extremely popular in the market-place because of the perceived credibility of an independent assessment.
      • The organization may thus avoid multiple audits by its clients, or reduce the frequency or duration of client audits. The certificate can also serve as a business reference between the organization and potential clients, especially when supplier and client are new to each other, or far removed geographically, as in an export context.
    • ISO does not make their standards freely available. They can be purchased in paper or pdf format from the ISO website. For more complete information, try their website.
  3. Useful Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Documents
  4. Postharvest Handling for Organic Crops – Vegetable Research and Information Center, Organic Vegetable Production in California Series, U.C. Davis
  5. FDA Food Code 2013: Joint Introduction to the 2013 Food Code
  6. The New FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Food Security Resources

  1. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
  2. Risk Assessment for Food Terrorism and Other Food Safety Concerns 2003

    “The events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax incidents(1) gave rise to concerns about unconventional terrorist attacks, including the threat of attacks on the U.S. food supply. Those events also heightened international awareness that nations could be targets for biological or chemical terrorism–a threat that had long concerned military and public health officials.In the aftermath of those incidents, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took steps to improve its ability to prevent, prepare for, and respond to, incidents of food sabotage. Though motivated by the concerns about deliberate contamination, those activities built upon and expanded the agency’s continuing efforts to protect consumers from foods that have been unintentionally contaminated (e.g., through processing failures or handling errors).

    As part of those activities, FDA assessed the risk to, and vulnerability of, the U.S. food supply to an act of terrorism.(2) However, most of those assessments contain classified information. To promote transparency, FDA prepared this publicly available assessment of the risks to public health of a terrorist attack on the food supply and of serious illness due to inadvertent food contamination.”

  3. Terrorist Threats to Food – Guidance for Establishing and Strengthening Prevention and Response Systems

    “The malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a possibility that responsible governments and private companies cannot ignore. This document responds to increasing concerns by governments that biological, chemical and physical agents or radionuclear materials might be used deliberately to harm civilian populations. In this regard, food is recognized as a potential vehicle for disseminating such agents to a broad population. The Fifty-fifth World Health Assembly (May 2002) expressed serious concern about such threats and asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide tools and support to its Member States to increase the capacity of national health systems to respond. In the World Health Report 2007, the natural accidental and deliberate contamination of food has been identified as one of the major global public health threats in the 21st Century.”

  4. Public Law 107–188—June 12, 2002 – Public Health Security And Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002
  5. Guidance for Industry: Food Producers, Processors, and Transporters: Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance – US FDA 2007
  6. Guidelines to Help Ensure a Secure Agribusiness – Agricultural Retailers Association, Crop Life America, and The Fertilizer Institute
  7. PDF for Industry Self-Assessment Checklist for Food Security USDA 2005
  8. PDF for Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist USDA 2006
  9. American Phytopathological Society: The First Line of Defense Biosecurity Issues Affecting Agricultural Crops & Communities: Genomics, Biotechnology, & Infrastructure