Part 3 of Preparing Your Farm Food Safety Plan
-Meredith Melendez and Wes Kline
The purpose of the Answers to General Questions portion of your farm food safety plan is to cover the broad details of your plan. Who is responsible for plan implementation and how to reach them; worker health and hygiene education; pesticide usage; traceability; and self-auditing are topics that should be covered. Below is an outline along with suggested wording that may work for your farm food safety plan – traceability and self-auditing are discussed in part four.
- Food Safety Plan Responsibility – Personnel and Contact Information
- Farm Worker Health and Hygiene Education
- Pesticide Use
The first paragraphs in this section should include the following:
- Who at the farm supervises and implements the food safety plan and how this person can be contacted in case of a problem.
- Who at the farm is the back up to the farm food safety plan supervisor and how can they be contacted in an emergency.
- The exact location of the farm and what on the farm is included in the audit.
- Indicate if you pack only your own product, or if you purchase additional product to pack.
Farm Worker Health and Hygiene Education
A large part of the Answers to General Questions portion of your plan should be dedicated to farm worker health and hygiene on the farm. The following are suggestions for topics your plan should include.
- Employees are trained and instructed on how to practice proper hygiene.
- Signs are posted at all wash stations in both Spanish and English to encourage employees and visitors to wash their hands. Sign should be posted in other languages depending on the native tongue of your workers.
- A visitor sign is posted main door explaining visitor’s responsibilities.
- A discipline policy is in place to use if an employee is found to not be following the farms food safety policy.
- Potable water is always available for employees in the packinghouse and in the fields.
- Water testing lab procedures and reports are documented.
- Restrooms are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis (at least weekly)
- Restrooms are supplied with toilet paper, single use paper towels, and soap
- Hand washing facilities are supplied with water that meets the microbial standard for drinking water.
- Smoking and eating areas are separate from production and packing areas.
- Employees that have diarrhea disease, or any other infections diseases, are not allowed to work directly with fresh product, but may be provided with other jobs if appropriate.
- What will your procedure be for an employee with a cut or abrasion while at work?
Example: Workers are instructed to seek prompt treatment with clean first aid supplies for cuts, abrasions and other injuries. A first aid kit is located in the packinghouse and in each field truck. Workers are required to report any injury to their supervisor who will determine if the employee can continue to work.
- What is your procedure should equipment become contaminated with bodily fluids? What will be done to sanitize the equipment?
Example: When blood or bodily fluid comes in contact with surfaces those surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized with a chlorine solution before using those surfaces for produce.
- What is your procedure should product become contaminated with bodily fluids? How will the produce be disposed of?
Example: When blood or bodily fluid comes in contact with produce, the product is immediately removed from the area in sealed plastic bags and destroyed.
- Persons applying pesticides and any post harvest materials are licensed and a copy of their license is on file. Records of agricultural pesticide usage are maintained and are held in the farm office. Pesticide method of use on the farm is governed by the pesticide label.
- Waste pesticides generated from farm use will be disposed of on-site according to the product label. Waste pesticides from a lack of use will be kept in their original containers and disposed of through EPA buy-back programs, returned to the retailer or saved for a local community hazardous waste collection program. Empty pesticide containers will be returned to the retailer when possible; otherwise the containers will be held until they can be appropriately recycled.
Next week: Answering the General Questions Portion of Your Farm Food Safety Plan Continues – Traceback and Self-Audit