Post-Harvest, Transportation, Storage, and Packing

Post-harvest operations involve additional risks to food safety and quality. All post-harvest operations, including transportation, storage, and packing, must comply with GMPs. Additionally, an HACCP plan must be administered in the case of an FDA inspection. HACCP is designed to identify, control, correct, and record hazards posed to the food supply.

Before crops are sent to their destination, all vehicles must be cleaned, sanitized, and ready to operate. This includes a thorough inspection of truck cleanliness and verification that everything (e.g. refrigeration, mechanics, hydraulics, etc.) is in working order. Truck loads should not exceed their maximum weight. Trucks that have ever hauled animals or biosolids should not be used to transport produce. Temperatures, time of shipment, and cleanliness must be documented and archived in the case of inspection (Daeschel, 2013).

Storage and packing facilities must be constructed according to certain specifications and regulations to protect stored crops. These facilities must operate under the GMPs. Temperature and humidity controls must be implemented and in working order to prevent spoilage of food. All readings (time, temperature, and humidity) must be recorded, and all chemicals must be stored away from produce. An HACCP plan must be established to detect hazards, ensure food quality and safety, and prepare for emergencies (e.g. contamination or pest infestation). This plan must also be written in case of inspection or for verification of adherence to procedures, should an outbreak occur. All personnel should be trained and know their HACCP plan. An Integrated Pest Management system (IPM) must also be in place to guard the storage and packing facilities against rodents, birds, and other known pathogen vectors (Daeschel, 2013).