SafeFood© and the World’s Oldest Profession

Huh? I am talking about farming, not that other job. Food safety on the farm has come under more scrutiny as we have had outbreaks traced back to fresh produce. The exposure to natural contaminants, such as bird droppings, wild pig feces, run-off water, etc is pretty hard to avoid when growing fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce in the raw form has not received a kill step of cooking to reduce bacterial loads.

So what is the answer? As a dietitian, I am all for increased fruit and vegetable consumption. The evidence is pretty clear increases of these foods and decreases of junk foods would mitigate a lot of health issues for Americans. Like many – I like fruits and vegetables that are uncooked or processed – but I take precautions. Washing my hands and washing the product before eating are two simple steps I can take as a consumer. Producers are also scaling up to improve on-farm food safety by using good agricultural practices (GAPs) and appropriate post-harvest handling procedures. An apple a day… hmm, not such bad advice.



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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