Advantage Good Agricultural Practices Manual
8.4 Harvest Tools and Containers
If not properly cleaned or maintained, harvest tools and containers can create potential hazards for the harvested product.
This Good Agricultural Practice applies to:
All farms that produce fresh fruit and vegetables.
What needs to be done
Clean, disinfect where necessary, and maintain harvest tools and containers at intervals that limit contamination of harvested product.
How to do it
Prior to harvest
Never use harvest containers for storage of waste, chemicals or other dangerous materials.
Examine the condition of harvest tools, containers, crates and pallets at the start of the season and occasionally during the season. Discard them if they cannot be properly cleaned or repaired.
Where packing containers are stored outside, examine them for debris, and clean and sanitize them before use.
When packing in the field, avoid contaminating containers or bins by exposure to soil or animal droppings. Keep packing boxes and bins off the soil by placing them on a dummy pallet or tarp.
Do not allow employees harvesting fresh fruit or vegetables to stand in bins. Shoes can transfer contaminants to the container and to the harvested product.
If packing indoors, remove as much dirt and mud as practical from produce outside of packing areas before bringing the product into a "clean" area.
Keep equipment or machinery that comes in contact with fresh produce as clean as is practical. This includes all sorting, grading and packing equipment. Dirty equipment that comes into contact with produce can transfer contaminants to the produce. For more information on developing a cleaning program and schedule, refer to 5.1 Cleaning and Sanitizing in this manual.
Clean equipment such as knives, boots, gloves and aprons; sanitize them when appropriate, inspect them regularly, and replace them when needed.
In harvest or packing areas:
Did you know?
When considering future purchases of field harvest equipment and containers, consider cleaning and sanitation needs so that an effective field equipment sanitation program can be established.
Did you know?
Cleaning field harvest containers can be a challenge due to their
size or construction material. Options to consider include pressure washers or
commercially available bin washers.
If you need an audit
Be prepared for the auditor to observe:
Other legislation to be aware of
The Plant Diseases Act, Regulation,
R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 924, s. 9 sets out specifications for disinfecting warehouses,
machinery, containers, vehicles, bags, crates and equipment that may have come
in contact with certain plant diseases. Note that the current list in the regulations
does not contain any plant disease that has a food safety implication for people.
For more information:
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