California strawberry producers met for a Food Safety Summit on Tuesday, and took a look at how they can improve food safety before another outbreak strikes California produce. Strawberries have been traced as the source of foodborne illness outbreaks in the past, such as a 1997 hepatitis A outbreak that was traced to frozen strawberries and a recent listeria outbreak that was also traced to frozen strawberries.
According to an article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel today:
Nearly 200 strawberry growers showed up at the Monterey summit sponsored by the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission and featuring several experts from the California Department of Health Services and the investigations branch of U.S. Food and Drug Administration in San Francisco.
Ideas they discussed were
- Investing in laser "trace back" technology.
- Testing irrigation water for contaminants at least once a week.
- Practicing product recalls.
- Keeping customer lists handy.
- Working with regulators.