No one likes hearing news about a produce outbreak. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and germs can spread like wildfire. If you work in the produce industry, you play a huge role in keeping consumers healthy. This responsibility shouldn’t be taken lightly, but luckily there are some easy steps you can take to avoid a health crisis. Keep scrolling to learn how to prevent a produce outbreak.
How to Prevent a Produce Outbreak
Start with Basic Hygiene
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to prevent a food-borne illness outbreak, start with the basics. Whether you farm, distribute, or prepare the produce, you run the risk of contaminating it with harmful bacteria. Wash your hands each time you take a restroom break, right before you start handling produce for a shift, and during your shift. Even though you’ve been washing your hands from a young age, refresh your knowledge by reading the CDC’s handwashing guide. In addition, if you work in the food industry, don’t go into work if you are ill. No amount of handwashing can protect the food from germs if you are carrying a contagious virus. For further protection, apply an alcohol-free hand sanitizer after you wash your hands.
Keep the Transportation Process Clean
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t store produce in a dirty space, so don’t overlook the cleanliness of a semi truck. With the right product, you don’t have to completely scrub down the semi trailer each day to protect produce from germs. The SafeSpace® Germ Fogger can kill 99 percent of the germs responsible for colds, flu, staph, and MRSA as well as many other illnesses and conditions.
A germ fogger is an easy and cost-effective way to disinfect semi trailers to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria to consumer produce. Simply shake the can well, and then place the can in the center of your trailer on a full piece of newspaper. Press and lock the total release valve lever, quickly exit, and close the doors. Do not re-enter the trailer for at least one hour. Since time is money in the transportation industry, you may wish to employ the fogger while you’re dashing from one stop to another. Use our patent-pending No-Tip Semi-Trailer Stand to keep the fogger upright as you disinfect your truck on the go.
As a food transporter, you should also make sure you are compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act. To better understand the FSMA and to learn how you can keep your truck disinfected to remain in compliance, check out our blog post about the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Safely Harvesting and Handling Produce
For those working in the agriculture industry, it’s your job to make sure the produce is clean from the start. During the past decade, fruits and vegetables have become leading carriers of food-borne illnesses. In the past, plant-based foods and ingredients were not considered a risk, but lately, they have been associated with food-borne disease outbreaks. Enteric zoonotic pathogens, which can be found in manure made out of animal products, have been identified as a cause of these outbreaks (source). For this reason, it is important to make sure you work with a reliable manure supplier that regularly tests their product for dangerous pathogens.
Finally, food packaging and handling facilities can also use the SafeSpace® Germ Fogger to disinfect their spaces. All food must be safely put away beforehand so that it’s not exposed to the contents. Then, the fogger can be deployed to kill germs that might otherwise find their way into the packaging.
Prevention of food-borne outbreaks takes teamwork from all members of the food production chain, from farm to table. When it comes to a produce outbreak, there is no telling where the bacteria originated. However, if you educate yourself on how to prevent a produce outbreak and you do your part to keep the produce clean, you can rest easy.
If you need some help disinfecting your truck or trailer, take a look at what the SafeSpace Company® has to offer. Purchase our SafeSpace Germ Fighter Kit for a complete disinfecting package. For more information about any of our products, give us a call at 1-800-735-2506. We would love to hear from you!