The growing popularity of local foods and farmers’ markets are indicative of the growing interest people have in knowing their food is fresh and safe. The freshness and safety of produce begins on the farm. It is important to ensure that produce is grown, handled and processed correctly to ensure freshness and that it does not become contaminated with disease causing organisms. The goal is to maximize freshness and prevent illness by keeping foods at the appropriate temperatures and preventing the transmission and growth of disease causing organisms.
The “walkthrough” that follows will encompass safety guidelines for keeping food fresh and safe, a process which begins in the field and is carried through the sale. The walkthrough has information for farmers’ markets, on-farm markets and pick your own operations. In addition to providing safety information and guidelines, the walkthrough also provides links to useful resources.
References and Source Information
- Enhancing the Safety of Locally Grown Produce. University of Georgia Extension
- US Dept. of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Website