Safe Fruit

Safe Fruit

Safe Fruit. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Berry growers in Washington, Oregon and California are working to proactively ensure that consumers this year get a safe fresh product. Food recalls due to outbreaks of food borne illnesses are catching the attention of northwest berry growers.

BYBEE: Historically, everything was being recalled from a manufacturer. A great majority of recalls are coming now from the fresh food market.

Vance Bybee of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Division says nobody wants a repeat of last summer's E. coli outbreak traced back to an Oregon strawberry grower in which one person died and several were hospitalized. Berry commissions from the three states have agreed to a proactive, unified food safety plan that should have positive results.

BYBEE: Consumers of Washington, Oregon, and California berries can be even more assured than ever before that the producers are taking steps to provide them with safe berries.

Bybee says when Oregon was involved in the fresh strawberry recall last summer, growers of other types of berries up and down the West Coast were watching closely.

BYBEE: The headlines in the newspaper say, E. coli found in Oregon berries. And to an extent, Washington and California are similarly concerned that if there was an outbreak in Oregon berries, that would also spill over to have some effect on their berry industry as well.

As part of the unified plan, on-farm, pre-harvest training of berry growers and their workers will take place this spring on proper handling of the fruit. The commissions are also working on a food safety recall plan that will help growers do what is required during a recall of fresh berries- something that hopefully won't be as necessary thanks to this region-wide proactive response. That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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