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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Farm Food Safety: Compliance Documentation – Packinghouse Activities

Part 7 of Preparing Your Farm Food Safety Plan

-Meredith Melendez and Wes Kline

The USDA Good Agricultural Practices Third Party Audit requires that certain activities on the farm be documented. These logs should accurately reflect what you have done on the farm to ensure food safety. If you do not write your activities down, the auditor will assume that the activity never happened. This documentation may be new for many growers, so making it as easy as possible for you to comply will ensure that the documenting happens in a manner that is acceptable to an auditor.

Remember you may not need a third party audit; it depends on who is purchasing your produce. However, everyone should have a food safety plan.

What packinghouse logs will you need to have as a part of your farm food safety plan?

Produce Disinfection Log

Growers will need to document that the water used to clean, cool and move their produce is sufficiently treated to reduce microbial contamination. The following items should be included on the produce disinfection log:

  • Date 
  • Time 
  • pH level recorded 
  • pH level adjusted? (Yes or No) 
  • Water temperature recorded 
  • Water temperature adjusted? (Yes or No) 
  • Number of minutes the produce came in contact with the water 
  • Was the time adjusted? (Yes or No) 
  • Employees initials

Bait Station Control Log

Auditors will be looking to see if measures are taken to exclude animals or pests from the packing and storage facilities. This includes an established pest control program for the facility. Bait stations should be located on each side of doors and approximately every 25 feet along solid walls of the packinghouse, and regular (approximately weekly) monitoring of these stations should be kept in a log. This log should include:

  • Date checked 
  • Time checked 
  • Bait station number (each should have a unique number) 
  • Status of the bait station 
  • Corrective action that was needed, if any 
  • Date the corrective action was completed 
  • Employees initials 

Packing House and Storage Facility- Inspection Logs

The packinghouse and storage facilities should be inspected on a regular basis. Three separate inspection logs should be kept for the facilities, a daily inspection log, a monthly inspection log and a quarterly inspection log. The following items are examples to include in the inspection logs:

Daily log

  • Date inspection occurred 
  • Floors – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Drains and trenches – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Break room and rest room – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Hand washing facilities – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Food contact surfaces – checked and if needed cleaned and sanitized 
  • Waste dumpster area – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Employee name

Monthly log

  • Date inspection occurred 
  • Walls – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Ceiling – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Overhead pipes and beams – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Coolers – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Maintenance area – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Employee name

Quarterly log

  • Date inspection occurred 
  • Light fixtures – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Hoist – checked and if needed cleaned 
  • Box storage area – checked and if needed cleaned
This is part seven of a series on creating your own Farm Food Safety Plan. For previous sections see the Plant & Pest Advisory or search this blog for "Food Safety Plan."