Harvest, Postharvest Handling, Storage and Transport
Contamination 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
- Clean equipment
- Ensure water quality
- Separate hazardous materials
- Control temperature and
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.