NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — New Jersey produce buyers and shippers are essential in keeping our produce department shelves stocked for consumers. Questions have come into the Rutgers On-Farm Food Safety Team regarding best practices for the shipping or receiving of produce. Communication is key, and prominent signage is the best way to convey your policies. Here are some suggestions to reduce risk:
-Train workers on proper handwashing. Click here for printable signage on the proper technique and frequency.
-Implement an ill worker policy if you don’t have one already – workers feeling sick (fever, cough, flu-like symptoms) must stay home.
-Clean and sanitize food contact surfaces and other frequently touched surfaces regularly. Products must be labeled for the intended use, and directions should be strictly followed. Note that there is a “surface must stay wet” for a specified amount of time in order to be effective.
Some additional considerations:
1. If you are loading the truck have the driver stay in their truck, if possible
2. Do not allow the driver to walk around the loading area
3. If possible have separate bathroom and handwashing facilities for the truckers, keep these stocked and make sure to clean and sanitize at least daily
4. Have a sign explaining what is expected of drivers
5. Post signage on handwashing
6. For package drop-off, have one designated area for this activity
–WES KLINE AND MEREDITH MELENDEZ, Rutgers University