Harvest, Postharvest Handling, Storage and Transport

harvest and post harvestContamination that occurs at or after harvest is of special concern because there is less time for natural processes to reduce contamination to a safe level before someone eats the produce.

A final “food safety field check” before harvest identifies situations that suggest a field might be contaminated and shouldn’t be harvested. After harvest, producers must focus on checking the cleanliness of every surface, implement, container, and spray that touches the produce, as well as any vehicle or building used to transport, pack, process, or store the produce.

Practices that maintain postharvest quality (such as grading out damaged or decayed product and cooling produce to appropriate temperature) are also recommended to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. There are a number practices to minimize risk during harvest, postharvest handling, storage, and transport. Growers should:​

  • Practice good general sanitation
  • Clean equipment
  • Ensure water quality
  • Separate hazardous materials from produce
  • Control temperature and humidity

The resources below provide detailed looks at harvest and postharvest concerns. Use the
information to learn about the risks, assess an operation, and identify changes that will reduce risk.​



collapse : :  ‎(5)
Food Safety Begins on the Farm A Grower Self Assessment of Food Safety RisksLinkCornell University
Farm Food Safety Decision Tree ProjectLinkCornell
Kansas State Food-A-Syst: A Food Safety Risk Management Guide for the ProducerLinkKansas State University
Produce Safety Alliance Resources ListLinkProduce Safety Alliance
Food Safety Regulations for Farmers’ MarketspdfPurdue University
collapse : : Equipment ‎(3)
Build a Hands-Free WasherpdfUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Mesh Produce Bags: Easy Batch Processinghttp://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/tipsheets_pdf/mesh4web.pdfUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits project at Univ. of Wisconsinhttp://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/index4.htmUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
collapse : : Facility Design ‎(2)
Packing Shed Layouthttp://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/tipsheets_pdf/shed4web.pdfUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Streamlining Your Sales Areahttp://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/tipsheets_pdf/sales4web.pdfUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
collapse : : Health and Hygiene ‎(1)
Hand and Dish washing information sheetpdfIndiana State Department of Health
collapse : : Home Storage and Handling ‎(1)
Safe Handling of Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Fruit and Vegetable Juiceswww.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm114299.htmFDA
collapse : : Pathogens ‎(2)
Food Safety for Fruit and Vegetable Farms: BARDOT-A New, Fast Method for Identifying MicrobespdfPurdue University
Listeria monocytogenes in Produce Packing HousesLinkIndiana State Dept. of Health
collapse : : Postharvest General ‎(2)
Postharvest Handling and Storage page at Purdue Fruit and Vegetable Connectionhttps://ag.purdue.edu/hla/fruitveg/Pages/harvest.aspxPurdue University
Postharvest resources from Univ. of Floridahttp://postharvest.ifas.ufl.edu/University of Florida
collapse : : Sanitation ‎(3)
Basic Elements of Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing in Food Processing and Handling Operations, FS14Basic Elements of Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing in Food Processing and Handling OperationsUniv. of Florida
NSF Product and Service ListingsLinkNational Sanitation Foundation
Sanitation in Produce Packing ShedspdfIndiana State Dept. of Health
collapse : : Water ‎(13)
Sanitizers Approved for Wash or Process WaterpdfPurdue University
Sanitizers for Produce Wash or Process WaterSanitizers for Produce Wash or Process WashPurdue University
Top FAQs about Produce Wash Water Management for Small -Scale and Direct Market Farms (Webinar slides,9.12.2012)Top FAQs about Produce Wash Water Management for Small -Scale and Direct Market Farms 9.12.2012. SlidesUC Davis and CPS
Approved Chemicals for Use in Organic Postharvest SystemslinkeXtension
Chlorine Use in Produce Packing LinesChlorine Use in Produce Packing LinesUniv. Florida
Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management – Well Disinfectionhttps://engineering.purdue.edu/SafeWater/drinkinfo/welldisinfection.pdfIndiana Dept. of Environmental Management
On-farm Food Safety for Produce Growers: Microbial Water Quality testingpdfPurdue University
Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) for Water Disinfection Monitoring, Control, and Documentation Pub. 8149Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) for Water Disinfection Monitoring, Control, and DocumentationUC Davis
Postharvest Chlorination: Basic Principles and Key Points for Effective Disinfectionhttp://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8003.pdfUC Davis
Water Disinfection: A Practical Approach to Calculating Dose Values for Preharvest and Postharvest Applicationshttp://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/7256.pdfUC Davis
Postharvest publications from UC Davishttp://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/libraries/publications/UC Davis
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