Testing agricultural water for fruit and vegetable production and postharvest handling
Critzer, Faith, 1978-
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Water is used throughout fruit and vegetable production and postharvest handling for cooling, frost protection, irrigation, fertigation, protective sprays, handwashing, washing produce, as well as cleaning and disinfecting equipment and produce contact surfaces. Water can harbor harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, which can cause foodborne illnesses. When contaminated water is used in crop production, there is a risk that these pathogens may contaminate produce. Given its widespread use during production and in postharvest applications, any contamination of water can result in subsequent produce contamination, capable of causing large numbers of people to become ill when the produce is consumed. For these reasons, it is imperative to evaluate how water is used within your farm and develop a plan for testing water so that you can control associated risks. This publication covers best practices for managing risks associated with water, but there has also been a lot of focus on water standards included in a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) federal regulation, the Produce Safety Rule.