Post-harvest: Resource materials include management of personnel, proper clean-up and disinfection methods, and food handling education and training materials.
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Children, Infants and Babies on the Farm
Young children, infants, and babies may be infected with enteric viruses and be asymptomatic, and may pose the risk of spreading Hepatitis A or Norovirus infections or contaminating food
1. Ensure that young children, infants, babies and pets are prohibited from entering the fields during harvesting.
Cleaning and Sanitation of Harvesting Tools and Containers
Harvesting equipment (tools, packaging, containers, etc.) can all be sources of contamination
Monitoring of Enteric Viruses (University of Santiago)
1. Harvesting equipment (tools, packaging, containers, etc.) can all be sources of contamination
2. For reusable containers, packaging and tools, the material and design should be easy to clean, maintain and appropriate for their intended use
Communal and Seasonal Housing of Workers
Management may provide worker housing, if so, these accommodations should ensure hygienic living conditions
1. All on-farm living quarters should meet habitable standards (sound roof, windows and doors)
2. Basic amenities such as drinking water, good ventilation, and bathroom facilities with adequate drains
3. In the event drains are not possible in bathrooms, septic pits that are compliant with local regulations may be utilized.
Managing Sick/Ill Persons and Employees
Precluding sick employees from coming to work prevents the potential for food and surface contamination
1. Sick or injured employees should not be allowed to work on tasks that may contaminate the fruits or food contact surfaces
2. Do not let any sick or injured employee harvest fruits even if the employee is protected with mask and gloves.
Sanitation in Farms and Processing Facilities
Harvest workers should have access to clean sanitation facilities
1. Provide potable water, and ample hand washing stations that are inside bathrooms or near toilet facilities.
2. Ensure workers wash hands properly with soap or other effective surfactant and running potable water
3. Do not provide or allow the use of hand sanitizer as a substitute for soap and water.
Testing of Food Contact Surfaces
Swab food contact surfaces and test for bacterial indicators (such as E. coli, fecal coliform or total coliform) at least on the first day of harvesting and in the middle of the season. When test results indicate fecal contamination, test for enteric viruses including Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and Norovirus (NoV). If virus is detected, reinforce surface disinfection, repeat test to confirm contamination, and isolate affected surfaces until the contamination is removed.
Testing of Fruit
Test harvested fruits for Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and Norovirus (NoV) at least once per season or if other fruit test results indicate fecal contamination. If virus is detected, stop harvesting, repeat test to confirm the contamination and reinforce sanitation activities. Do not consume or distribute the contaminated fruit.
Testing of Workers Hands
Swab hands of harvesters or other farm workers in direct contact with fruit and test for bacterial indicators (such as E. coli or fecal coliform) at least on the first day of harvesting and in the middle of the season. When test results indicate fecal contamination, test for Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and Norovirus (NoV). If virus is detected, remove the person temporarily from positions requiring direct contact with food, verify the health condition of the person and repeat test to confirm the infection. If viral infection is confirmed, the person shall not return to work until NoV and/or HAV infection is confirmed negative. Consider increase the number and frequency of test if virus is detected repetitively.
Worker Behaviors on the Field
It is good hygienic practice to avoid smoking, eating, chewing or drinking during harvesting operations
1. Smoking, eating, chewing, and drinking should be confined only to designated areas and away from crops
2. Smoking, eating, chewing, and drinking should not be permitted in the fruit handling or storage areas, unless indicated otherwise by an extensive hygiene risk assessment (drinking water can be an exception)
Worker Health and Hygiene and Food Safety Training
Worker health and hygiene training and food safety training is a critical component of preventing enteric virus contamination during harvesting
1. All staff, supervisors, and temporary workers handling fruits should be trained at the time of hiring and at least once a year about food safety, hygiene practices and infectious diseases
2. All workers should be able to distinguish between contaminated or potentially contaminated fruits, fecal matter, traces of animal/insect body parts, damaged plants or fruits, and the discern general cleanliness of harvesting tools and containers.
3. Establish a verification program for good handling practices during harvesting