Produce Safety Matters

Growers, packing centers, and retailers rely on one another to prevent contamination and keep consumers safe. Four animations illustrate how contamination can spread from field to table and suggest ways to avoid this. Applicable to various tree and ground fruits including cantaloupe, cucumbers, and strawberries, the animations follow the lifespan of an imaginary "purple fruit," highlighting danger points at each stage of the process and suggesting best practices for keeping produce free from contamination. Although the animations are brief, they include "Pause Points" (recommended spots to pause the video) where a presenter can discuss, distribute additional materials or reinforce learning during training.

The Bigger Picture

Produce leaves the farm and travels out into the world to be enjoyed by consumers. If contamination is present, it can spread from one piece of fruit to another via transportation, at the market, or during preparation. Consumers may be at risk. This animation highlights the importance of preventing contamination before produce makes its way to the outside world.

The Field

Produce growing in fields is part of a natural system. This animation shows how contamination originates and how it can spread via irrigation water, animals, employees, harvest containers and dirty equipment. Learn how to minimize this contamination in the field and keep produce safe.

Dump Tank

Managing a dump tank means paying attention to multiple factors: water source, chlorine concentration, free vs. total chlorine, pH, contact time, and organic load. Follow a "purple fruit" through the dump tank as it faces contamination challenges. If any factor falls into neglect, and a pathogen is present, contamination could spread.

Pack Shed

If contamination is present in the pack shed, it can spread and contaminate additional produce via surfaces, workers, equipment, water, and packing containers. Preventing contamination at every station in the pack shed is key to ensuring that produce stays safe for consumers down the line.

© 2014, NMSU Board of Regents. Produce Safety Matters is a collaborative project supported by North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Ohio State University Extension, and a 2012 Florida Specialty Crop Block Grant as part of the Multi-State project "A systems approach to improving the safety of cantaloupe." NMSU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.