FDA Issues Guide on How to Minimize Microbial Contamination in Fresh-Cut Produce
The Food and Drug Administration announced the availability of the "Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables" http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/prodgui2.html.
Incidences of foodborne illnesses indicate that processing fresh produce into fresh-cut produce increases the risk of bacterial contamination and growth by breaking the natural exterior barrier of the produce.The absence of processing to eliminate pathogens makes the implementation of a preventive program, such as the Guide, critical in minimizing microbial hazards of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The Guide provides helpful steps and measures to fresh-cut processors.
The Guide complements FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations and provides a framework for identifying and implementing appropriate measures to minimize the risk of microbial contamination during the processing of fresh-cut produce. For example, the Guide recommends that processors remove plant juices released by cutting operations and as much excess water through draining methods such as spin drying and regularly inspect tools, for cutting, slicing, and shredding, for damage that could impair cleaning and sanitizing them.