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Food safety issues in fresh produce supply chain

Food safety issues

Food safety issues in the fresh produce supply chain can pose significant risks to public health.

Here are some common concerns and challenges related to food safety in the fresh produce supply chain:

  1. Contamination: Fresh produce can become contaminated with harmful pathogens, such as bacteria (e.g., Salmonella, E. coli) and viruses (e.g., Norovirus), at various stages of the supply chain. Contamination can occur through various sources, including contaminated irrigation water, improper handling practices, cross-contamination during processing or transportation, and poor hygiene practices.

  2. Pesticide Residues: The use of pesticides in agriculture can lead to the presence of residues on fresh produce. If pesticide residues exceed permissible limits, they can pose health risks to consumers. Proper pesticide application practices, adherence to regulations, and accurate record-keeping are essential to minimize this risk.

  3. Poor Temperature Control: Maintaining appropriate temperatures throughout the supply chain is crucial for preserving the quality and safety of fresh produce. Inadequate temperature control during transportation, storage, or display can promote the growth of pathogens or spoilage microorganisms, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

  4. Inadequate Sanitation and Hygiene: Insufficient sanitation practices, both in the field and during processing, can contribute to the contamination of fresh produce. Poor hygiene of workers, lack of proper handwashing facilities, and improper cleaning and sanitization of equipment and surfaces can all contribute to food safety risks.

  5. Lack of Traceability: Traceability is vital in identifying the source of any food safety issues and implementing targeted recalls when necessary. Without robust traceability systems in place, it becomes challenging to track fresh produce throughout the supply chain, making it harder to identify and address contamination events effectively.

  6. Global Sourcing: With the globalization of the fresh produce supply chain, products are often sourced from various regions worldwide. Different countries may have varying food safety standards, regulations, and enforcement practices, which can introduce additional challenges in ensuring consistent safety across the supply chain.

  7. Supply Chain Complexity: The fresh produce supply chain involves multiple stakeholders, including farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and transportation providers. The complexity of this chain increases the potential for food safety risks as fresh produce moves through various hands and undergoes different processes.

Food safety issues in fresh produce supply chain- A review

Prof. Ogugua Charles Aworh [FNIFST, FIAFoST, FAAS]

Theme Speaker

The safety of fresh farm produce for direct consumption is an important issue for both consumers and producers. There are common impediments to the development of farm food safety plans and implementation in sub-Sahara Africa, but the solutions are by no means one size fits all. Prof. O.C. Aworh (FNIFST, FIAFoST, FAAS), IAFoST President shall be illuminating the subject matter with a narrative of his recent publication “Food safety issues in fresh produce supply chain with particular reference to sub-Saharan Africa”.

Njeri Susan Thara-Sekgweng M.D. Plethora Consulting

Guest Speaker

HACCP is a food safety system while ISO 22000 is a food safety management system standard. Can a certified HACCP personnel assume ISO 22000 competence? Which food safety certification captures fresh produce supply chain adequately. Susan Njeri, M.D. Plethora Consulting, Botswana, an accredited trainer in Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), shall be sharing her professional view, with the hope of teasing a balanced opinion on the salient questions.

Wrap Up

Addressing these food safety issues requires a comprehensive approach involving the implementation and enforcement of stringent regulations, adherence to good agricultural and manufacturing practices, regular testing and monitoring of produce, training and education of stakeholders, and promoting a culture of food safety throughout the supply chain. Collaboration among all stakeholders is essential to ensure the safety of fresh produce and protect consumer health.

AfREN ( invites the general public to this knowledge sharing session on food safety issues in fresh produce supply chain in sub-Sahara Africa, with a view to tease actionable projects and policy briefs.

Where – AfREN’s knowledge sharing Zoom session.

When – Saturday 20th May 2023 4.30PM (WAT)

Save the date !


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