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Consumers And Foodservice Operators
Should Not Rewash Fresh-cut Produce

The results are in… Do not rewash fresh-cuts.

A superstar panel of food safety experts has published a peer-reviewed piece entitled “Recommendations for Handling Fresh-cut Leafy Green Salads by Consumers and Retail Foodservice Operators”

The Summary of Results:

A panel of scientists with expertise in microbial safety of fresh produce was convened to review recent research and re-evaluate guidelines for foodservice and restaurant operators, regulatory agencies with oversight over food facilities, and consumers for handling prewashed bagged salads. The guidelines developed by the panel, together with materials reviewed by the panel to develop the guidelines, are presented. The background materials reviewed include published research and recent recommendations made by other authoritative sources. The panel concluded that leafy green salad in sealed bags labeled “washed” or “ready-to-eat” that are produced in a facility inspected by a regulatory authority and operated under cGMPs, does not need additional washing at the time of use unless specifically directed on the label. The panel also advised that additional washing of ready-to-eat green salads is not likely to enhance safety. The risk of cross contamination from food handlers and food contact surfaces used during washing may outweigh any safety benefit that further washing may confer.

The authors:

Mary S. Palumbo California Dept. of Health Services,
Food and Drug Branch
James R. Gorny United Fresh Produce Association
David E. Gombas United Fresh Produce Association
Larry R. Beuchat Center for Food Safety,
University of Georgia
Christine M. Bruhn Center for Consumer Research,
Dept. of Food Science & Technology,
University of California, Davis
Barbara Cassens US Food and Drug Administration
Pascal Delaquis Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada,
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre
Jeffrey M. Farber Health Canada, Tunney’s Pasture,
Banting Research Center
Linda J. Harris Western Institute of Food Safety and Security and Dept. of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis
Keith Ito Laboratory for Research in Food Preservation, University of California-Davis
Michael T. Osterholm Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota
Michelle Smith US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Katherine M.J. Swanson Ecolab

You can read the paper as published in the November 2007 issue of Food Protection Trendsright here.

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