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The United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) and the North American Tomato Trade Work Group (NATTWG) said they have published the second edition of the Commodity Specific Foods Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomatoes Supply Chain.
The document provides the latest food safety guidelines for policies relating to water use, workers, and soil; and includes components for all companies along the supply chain, including retailers and foodservice distributors.
United Fresh and NATTWG, which is a consortium of fresh field and greenhouse tomato organizations within the United States, Canada and Mexico, initiated the year-long effort to revise the first edition guidance document in order to incorporate new scientific learnings, and to include the perspectives of a broader scope of contributors than was included in the first edition.
Over the past 12 months, more than 40 scientists and industry experts from academia, government and the fresh tomato industry have reviewed the latest food safety research findings and industry practices in order to revise the first edition of the guidance document, which was published in 2006 by NATTWG.
"Significant efforts were made to involve as many associations, agencies, companies and individuals with expertise in food safety practices for one or more steps in the fresh tomato supply chain as possible," said Dr. David Gombas, s.v.p. of food safety and technology at United Fresh. "We wanted everyone's input on this so we could be as thorough as possible."
"In the two years since the first document, we've learned more about potential risks and control measures at all points in the fresh tomato supply chain," added Reggie Brown, chairman of NATTWG. "The second edition of the guidelines represents current understanding of conditions and controls that should be considered by every company in the tomato supply chain."
The California Tomato Farmers and Florida Tomato Exchange have indicated that they support the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh Tomatoes Supply Chain, 2nd Edition as the basis for mandatory national food safety standards for the fresh tomato industry.