United Fresh has released the third edition of the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain, referred to as the Tomato Guidelines. This document lays the foundation for a forthcoming update to the Tomato Metrics, a suite of audit standards specific to growing and packing tomatoes.
“United Fresh members asked that the guidelines be reviewed in light of evolving science, practices, and regulations,” said United Fresh Vice President of Food Safety & Technology at Jennifer McEntire. “There was keen interest in this process, with over 40 individuals representing the entirety of the tomato supply chain contributing to the update.”
The guidelines outline recommendations for all parts of the fresh tomato supply chain: from outdoor and greenhouse growing to harvesting, field packing, packinghouse operations, repacking, fresh-cut operations through to retail and foodservice. While the format of the document is similar to the previous version, the content has been wholly reviewed and updated. Key changes include recommendations around field packing, antimicrobial use and wash water monitoring, and re-use of cartons. The guidelines also reference the applicable provisions of the Produce Safety Rule in the context of fresh tomato practices.
“Food safety is a journey that’s shaped by experience and research,” says Suresh De Costa, director of food safety at Lipman Family Farms and a contributor to the guidelines. “The updated version will continue to serve as a key food safety reference for the industry that will help enhance food safety practices.”
The Tomato Guidelines can be downloaded for free by visiting www.unitedfresh.org. Currently available only in English, the document is expected to be translated to Spanish in the coming months. For questions, contact United Fresh Manager of Food Safety Emily Griep at 202-303-3401.