The National Potato Council has released a best-practices document to help growers, shippers and packers ensure the safety of their potatoes.
The council discussed the 67-page document, Commodity-Specific Safety Guide for the Production, Harvest, Storage and Packing of Potatoes, in a Nov. 8 web seminar.
The document is available on the NPC's website.
The guide, written by Intertox Decision Sciences LLC after extensive industry input, is divided into four parts, with a list of best practices for each: general practices, production and harvest operations, storage unit operations and packinghouse operations.
Speakers at the web seminar included John Keeling, the council's executive vice president and CEO; Susan Leaman, vice president of Intertox; and Andy Diercks, vice president of Coloma, Wis.-based Coloma Farms, Inc.
"We are very excited about producing this document and getting it out to growers," Keeling said in the seminar. "This is a template for growers to fine-tune what they're already doing on farms and in packinghouses."
Potatoes are not a high-risk commodity, Keeling said, as evidenced by their exclusion from the Food Safety Modernization Act's produce-wide rule.
The decision to create a best-practices document was a proactive measure to ensure continued success, he said.
The document covers topics including hand-washing, location of toilets, water runoff, microbial testing, traceability programs, storage, recall procedures, temperature monitoring, limiting pest populations and many more.