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FoodTech Report

Volume 8 Issue 2

Ask the Expert: Ensuring food safety in produce

Food safety

With extensive media coverage of many fruit and vegetable recalls over the past couple of years, consumers have become more concerned about food safety. Tracking and tracing products throughout the supply chain is essential to keep produce as safe as possible and protect consumers through quick, targeted recalls if necessary. Christopher Miller, North American food safety sales account manager at JBT FoodTech, answers some common questions about how to improve produce safety procedures.

Q: What are the challenges of food safety in citrus and other types of produce and how do they occur?
A: Some of the biggest challenges come at the packinghouse level. However, packers have a very important role in the food safety chain, through proper handling and documentation.

 A main food safety challenge for packinghouses is record-keeping. The packinghouse and processing plant environment isn’t always conducive to properly filling out paperwork and compiling with filing procedures. Auditors may see unorganized record conditions as a negative sign for the company’s overall food safety program and may come down pretty hard on those companies. Another challenge is produce sanitation and chemical application, which must be precisely monitored to ensure just the right amount of product is applied during the packing process.

Biljana Ellison 

Q: How can companies improve their product handling and documentation processes?
A: JBT FoodTech has microbiologists and certified food safety managers who work directly with produce packers to help change their work culture, develop documentation programs and keep records digitally.

JBT FoodTech provides one of the only full-service food safety programs available at this time, including multiple food safety services and technologies. Working with the packinghouse, JBT FoodTech builds a complete food safety compliance program and then inputs the standard operating procedures into the JBT FoodTech DataPort™ management system. The DataPort management system is a combination of hardware and software uniquely integrated to collect data specific to pass a food safety audit or to assist during a recall. Processors can use wireless input devices with the DataPort management system, such as PDAs, touchscreen kiosks and automated sensors, to enter documentation into the record-keeping database. The DataPort management system also can be used as a hub for other production information, such as preventive maintenance programs, online training, grower data collation, sanitation systems (clean-in-place) and pest control programs.

An example of automated data retrieval is the JBT FoodTech Freshgard® Chemtrol™ system, which will relay information directly to a dedicated e-folder in the DataPort software. The Freshgard Chemtrol system accurately monitors and controls the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) of sanitizers in recirculating and fresh water systems to maximize microbial efficacy, a critical step in any food safety program.

Q: How have growers and packers responded to the transition to a new food safety process?
A: Every day, growers and packers are bombarded by strict customer requirements and food safety qualifications. Working with JBT FoodTech, a partner that companies already trust, has been a source of relief, making the transition a little less daunting.

To learn more about JBT FoodTech citrus and produce safety solutions, visit the JBT FoodTech website.


Do you have a food processing question that you would like a JBT FoodTech expert to address in the next issue of FoodTech Report? Submit your question.

JBT FoodTech® and Freshgard® are registered trademarks and DataPort™ is a trademark of JBT Corporation. Chemtrol™ is a trademark of Santa Barbara Control Systems.

©2010 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved.


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