Fresh produce-associated outbreaks: A call for HACCP on farms?

Jan Mei Soon, Louise Manning, Paul Davies and Richard Baines write in the British Food Journal that a desktop study of recent outbreaks and recalls that have occurred in the US and EU was undertaken with a view to determining the produce items implicated and factors causing the emergence of outbreaks. The question, ‘A call for HACCP on farms?’ is explored.

Minimally processed fresh-cut produce, represents a particular challenge to food safety. The research has highlighted the need to mitigate risk at all stages but with specific emphasis at the pre-farm gate stage. A more comprehensive and integrated approach to risk management is arguably needed. A call for HACCP on the farm or farm food safety management system may be warranted in future if fresh produce outbreaks continue to rise. However, further research is needed to establish the guidelines of HACCP adoption at the farm level. At present, the rigorous adoption of GAP as a pre-requisite and the practice of HACCP-based plans is a good indicator of the importance of pre-harvest safety.