Produce Food Safety Services

  • According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and produce account for approximately 12% of the reported foodborne illnesses in the United States.
  • The incidence rate for illnesses associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and produce continues to increase, partially due to improved surveillance measures and an increase in consumer consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • According to recent published research - fresh produce has been implicated as a vehicle in the transmission of foodborne gastroenteritis, especially with Salmonella and E. coli. Outbreaks have been associated in recent times with the consumption of cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, unpasteurized orange juice, and other raw salad vegetables.
"Concentrations of E. coli and genetic diversity and antibiotic resistance profiling of Salmonella isolated from irrigation water, packing shed equipment, and fresh produce in Texas"

Duffy EA et al. Journal of Food Protection, Vol 68, No. 1, 2005; 70-79

Reasons for microbiological contamination of produce:

  • Contact of untreated sewage water with surface runoff and irrigation water in the fields
  • Fecal contamination during post-harvest handling, shipping or processing
  • Poor employee health practices and poor sanitary facilities for field employees
  • Lack of wildlife monitoring and control
  • Contamination of produce by knives, cutters and utensils
  • Exposure to warm storage temperatures

EHA's infectious disease epidemiologists have been successful in investigating several, recent high-visibility foodborne outbreaks associated with fruits and vegetables across the United States. From the farm environment to the retail environment, our food safety experts can assist in the improvement of sanitary conditions that make your facilities a safer vicinity to grow, pack, process, transport and sell fruit and produce items. Our team of HACCP specialists can assist you in the creation of GAP's, GMPS's and SSOP's to ensure the highest standards in food safety and quality.

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How Can EHA help you?

How does your operation benefit?

  • Be better prepared for regulatory inspections.
  • Reduce your risk due to product recalls, potential outbreaks and lawsuits.
  • Create a proactive food safety program that addresses potential issues before they occur.
  • Create a "state of the art" food safety program that allows you to make sound business decisions based on "cutting edge" of science.

Learn more about foodborne illnesses and diseases.