Pre Harvest

Pre Harvest

Narrow your search below by category, keyword or search term. The recommendations are organized by the following categories:
Pre-harvest: Preharvest food safety measures and interventions are implemented on the farm or in the field to prevent or reduce introduction of enteric viruses onto food products.
Harvest: Enteric virus prevention is also important during harvesting. These resources focus on proper use of equipment and tools, effective handwashing techniques, and safe food handling practices.

Post-harvest: Resource materials include management of personnel, proper clean-up and disinfection methods, and food handling education and training materials.

Pre Harvest Recommendations


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Agricultural Water Contamination


If the water test results indicate possible fecal contamination (e.g.: high count of fecal coliforms), test agricultural water for Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and Norovirus (NoV).

1. Establish sampling method and frequency considering the source of water, history of water quality, water distribution system, the intended use of water and if the water is contacting the fruit.

2. If enteric virus is detected in water, hold activities involving the contaminated water, repeat the water test to look for source of contamination and confirm the presence of virus.

3. Consider changing water source and notify local health authorities.

Agricultural Water Treatment


Treat water before use if the water does not meet the potable water standard required by local regulation or with WHO recommendations.

Fecal Contamination of Agricultural Water


Human enteric viruses are possibly present in any kind of water contaminated by human fecal material and by sewage, and can survive for a long time in water, soil, surfaces, fruits and vegetables.

1. Allow sufficient time (e.g.: 21 days to the harvest schedule for leafy greens) between irrigation and harvest to ensure an appropriate decline in pathogen populations.

2. In absence of scientific studies on microbial die-off rate, consider using suggestions in the FSMA Microbial standard of agricultural water (0.5 log per day) or implementing microbial reduction activities after harvesting, such as washing. Above mentioned die-off rates are for bacteria, it is hard to conclude a decay rate for enteric virus for all fresh procedure because the experimental conditions and results varied.



Ensuring that water distributed to the processing facility is safe and clean during the season

1. At least once per year inspect water source and storage and distribution equipment to identify possible sources of contamination. The inspection should be prior to the last application of water (such as irrigation and plant protection products dilution). Additional inspection and tests are needed if water quality is likely affected, for instance, after flood. hurricane, etc.

Sources of Agricultural Water


Use potable water from closed water sources for irrigation and application of crop protection products whenever it is possible.  

1. The source of potable water is preferably from municipal systems or wells.

2. Monitor the water microbial quality regularly to ensure the safety of water.

Types of Irrigation


Prevent contact between harvestable crops and the water (use drip irrigation versus overhead aerial spray).

1. Drip irrigation is prefered as water is unlikely to touch fruits.

– Furrow irrigation represents medium risk AND – Sprinkler is the riskiest irrigation method

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