Over the past decade, the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased steadily in the United States. While producers have enjoyed the â€œfruitsâ€ of their success, they also have witnessed a troubling and corresponding rise in microbial food borne illness incidents associated with raw and minimally processed fruits and vegetables.Â This has spurred harvesting companies like ours to develop practices to improve Food Safety.
In October of 1998, the Food and Drug Administration issued a guidance document to the agriculture industry titled â€œGuide To Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards For Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,â€ generally known as Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP. This guidance is a science-based document, which outlines good agricultural and management practices that help minimize the risk of microbial food safety hazards in the production, harvest, packing, cooling and transporting of fresh commodities.
By implementing an effective Good Agricultural Practices program (GAP) on the farm, and focusing on prevention, Premium Packing is able to harvest products that are free of microbial, chemical and physical contaminants.
The key elements of our GAP program are:
- Prevention of problems before they occur
- Risk assessments
- Commitment to food safety at all levels
- Communication throughout the production chain
- Mandatory employee education program at the operational level
- Field and equipment sanitation
- Oversight and enforcement
Premium Packing Addresses these key elements by:
- Educating employees through training to follow all Food Safety guidelines.
- Fabricating and designing our own portable restroom facilities to prevent contamination of products in the field.
- Investing in three fully integrated Sanitation Trucks.Â Each truck is equipped with stainless steel tanks, pressure washers, cleaning agents, and vacuum to fully sanitize restroom facilities in the field.
- Enforcement of any food safety violations through disciplinary system.