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The third edition of the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomato Supply Chain has been released. 

Commonly called the Tomato Guidelines, a news release from United Fresh Produce Association said the document provides a good foundation for an upcoming refresh of 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,” Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology at United Fresh, said in the release. “There was keen interest in this process, with over 40 individuals representing the entirety of the tomato supply chain contributing to the update.”

The release said the guidelines outline recommendations all parts of the supply chain, including outdoor and greenhouse growing to harvesting, field packing, packinghouse operations, repacking, fresh-cut operations through to retail and foodservice. 

Key changes to the document compared with the previous edition include recommendations around field packing, antimicrobial use and wash water monitoring, and re-use of cartons. The guidelines also refer to 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,” Suresh De Costa, director of food safety at Lipman Family Farms, a contributor to the guidelines, said in the release. “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 no charge at www.unitedfresh.org. Now available in English, the document is expected to be translated to Spanish in the coming months, according to the release.

Contact Emily Griep, United Fresh’s Manager of Food Safety at 202-303-3401, for questions about the document.