Post-harvest: Resource materials include management of personnel, proper clean-up and disinfection methods, and food handling education and training materials.
Pre Harvest Recommendations
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.
1. Microbial standard of agricultural water as per FSMA (in the proposed microbial standard of agricultural water): The geometric mean is not to exceed 126 colony forming units (CFU) of generic E. coli per 100 mL and the estimate of the statistical threshold value (STV) of samples must not exceed 410 CFU of generic E. coli in 100 mL of water.
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.
Hazard Analysis of Agricultural Water
Conduct a hazard analysis of water used in the farm(s) and processing facility by asking relevant questions such as:
1. Identify the source of the water
2. Assess microbial and chemical quality of water (general cleanliness)
3. Review any regulatory tests and results pertaining to water quality
4. Identify potential indicators upstream of water source
5. Characterize potential causes of contamination and impact
INSPECTION OF AGRICULTURAL WATER SOURCE AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
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.
2. Reduce the vulnerability of the water supply by conducting routine verification of microbial water quality
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