“If you are going to be testing, there are much better platforms out there now than there have been for the last couple of years,” he said.
Of course, Suslow doesn’t want everyone to immediately start testing using this new system in hopes of avoiding an outbreak situation.
For one thing, it can be costly and time consuming for growers to do this, despite that the more tests that are done, the more cost effective each one becomes.
Instead, Suslow said he thinks contamination is really best if it’s simply prevented in the first place.
“Testing for pathogens won’t give you any better results than if you just have a well-managed, audited food safety system in place,” he said.
In cases where an issue or a specific case does arise, that’s when Suslow said pathogen testing is most effective.
“If a situation comes up, and you want to try and assure it doesn’t represent an actual contamination, that’s where I’d recommend you spend the target dollars to pathogen test,” he said.
He also said the industry needs to continue to work on evaluating environmental testing in packing facilities, which already is becoming more widespread at fresh processing locations.