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Food Safety in the Packinghouse



Authors as Published

Authored by Alexis M. Hamilton, Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Laura K. Strawn, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech


Minimize fruit damage at harvest

  • Prevent stem punctures and abrasions
  • Harvest at appropriate maturity for each commodity

Optimize disease management program

  • Target a variety of fungal pathogens
  • Emphasize orchard management practices that minimize contamination

Don't harvest dropped fruit

  • Don't harvest dropped fruit.
  • Fruit with visible punctures, breaks, or abrasions should not be harvested

Keep decayed fruit off the line

  • Pre-sort before dumping on the line
  • Remove from the line as soon as possible before spray bar operations

PSR Reminders

Subpart E
Postharvest water

  • No detectable generic E. coli/100 mL water
  • Maintain this water quality throughout use

Subpart K
Harvest, pack, hold

  • Prevent contamination of  crop  and packaging materials
  • Use appropriate packaging materials and keep clean

Subpart L
Tools & sanitation

  • Clean and sanitize food contact surfaces
  • Exclude pests or prevent establishment in your facility
  • Document training and use SOPs

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Publication Date

May 15, 2023