Advantage Good Agricultural
Clothing and footwear on a multi-commmodity farm (Good Agricultural
Consider this scenario:
- Vegetable operation: ready-to-eat vegetables are sold bulk to
a local food processing company and at the farm gate
- 50-head of beef cattle also raised on the farm
- Seasonal workers are hired for the vegetable operation
Common food safety risks for this scenario:
The biological risk on this type of operation is
cross-contamination of pathogens on manure-covered or exposed clothing
and footwear from the beef housing area to the areas where ready-to-eat
vegetables are produced, handled and stored. If you have seasonal
workers who work on other farms and come into contact first with
livestock, poultry, manure or untreated compost and then enter food
handling, production or storage areas for ready-to-eat vegetables
you also have a biological risk. If clothing and footwear are not
changed or cleaned before passing through the vegetable operation
or leaving the beef housing areas, cross-contamination could occur.
Clothing and footwear worn by visitors to the farm might also carry
unknown pathogens. There is also a risk to animal health if appropriate
biosecurity measures are not taken for animal housing areas. This
could also impact food safety of products from those animals.
The chemical risk to clothing and footwear may occur
when workers applying chemicals such as pesticides pick up residues
on their clothing and then handle ready-to-eat products. Clothing
worn by visitors to the farm might also carry unknown residues.
If people wearing these clothes handle food, cross-contamination
could occur. This could push residue levels over the allowed limits.
How good agricultural practices can help
To reduce the risk of cross-contamination from pathogens and chemical
residues, farms need to adopt good agricultural practices with respect
to clothing and footwear.
If you have workers on your operation that work between
the beef housing areas and the ready-to-eat vegetable production,
handling or storage areas during the course of the day, or employ
seasonal or part-time workers that work on other farms before coming
onto your operation,a biological risk could occur from cross-contamination
through pathogens carried on soiled clothing and footwear.
- Have written practices for clothing and footwear that is to
be worn in certain areas on your operation for all workers to
be trained on and follow. An example could be requiring workers
to change into clean clothing before starting food handling activities
such as harvesting or packing.
- Set up good traffic patterns. For example, prevent workers from
having to enter or cross high-risk areas such as animal housing
or manure/compost storage sites to get to harvesting activities
or food handling, storage or packing areas.
- Create a "clean zone" or designated place between
these two areas where people working in high risk areas can change
or store contaminated clothing. They should have access to clean
shirts, pants, footwear, aprons or coveralls before they take
part in harvesting activities or enter food handling, storage
or packing areas.
- Provide coveralls or aprons to seasonal workers that can be
worn during food handling and can be easily cleaned afterwards.
- Assign workers with dirty clothing another duty instead of handling
If you have frequent visitors on your operation that
have visited other livestock or poultry operation or it is unknown,
a biological risk could occur with cross-contamination of pathogens
on clothing and footwear.
- Confirm that visitor clothing and footwear is clean and not
worn recently on livestock/poultry operations before you allow
anyone to enter food handling, production or storage areas.
- Provide clean attire for visitors such as coveralls or boot
- Designate rubber boots and coveralls that are only to be worn
in animal housing. These should be removed when leaving that area.
Provide a place to hang coveralls and store boots at the entrance
to the animal housing facility.
- If changing footwear is not possible, set up boot-wash stations
or footbaths at entry points to animal housing areas to minimize
If you have workers that handle or use chemicals
such as pesticides on your operation, a chemical risk may occur
if workers spill chemicals on their clothing and then handle food,
potentially transferring residues onto food.
- Ensure workers are trained to handle chemicals properly and
only workers that have taken the Grower Pesticide Safety Course
apply pesticides and supervise the handling of pesticides.
- All chemical handling is performed away from areas where food
is produced, handled or stored.
- Provide and designate appropriate clothing that is to be worn
for these activities, such as aprons or coveralls that can be
removed afterwards and easily cleaned.