National Potato Council issues food safety document

11/08/2013 04:32:00 PM
Andy Nelson

The National Potato Council has released a best-practices document to help growers, shippers and packers ensure the safety of their spuds.

The Washington, D.C.-based council discussed the 67-page document, Commodity-Specific Safety Guide for the Production, Harvest, Storage and Packing of Potatoes, in a Nov. 8 web seminar.

The document is available on the council’s website, nationalpotatocouncil.org.

The guide, written by Intertox Decision Sciences LLC after extensive industry input, is divided into four parts, with a list of best practices for each: general practices, production and harvest operations, storage unit operations and packinghouse operations.

Speakers at the web seminar included John Keeling, the council’s executive vice president and chief executive officer; Susan Leaman, vice president of Intertox; and Andy Diercks, vice president of Coloma, Wis.-based Coloma Farms, Inc.

“We are very excited about producing this document, and getting it out to growers,” Keeling said in the seminar. “This is a template for growers to fine-tune what they’re already doing on farms and in packinghouses.”

Potatoes are not a high-risk commodity, Keeling said, as evidenced by their exclusion from the Food Safety Modernization Act’s produce-wide rule.

The decision to create a best-practices document was a proactive measure to ensure continued success, he said.

The document covers topics including hand-washing, location of toilets, water runoff, microbial testing, traceability programs, storage, recall procedures, temperature monitoring, limiting pest populations and many more.



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