Controlling Listeria in Fresh Produce: Tree Fruit Packing Operations

Registration for this event is closed. If you have any questions, please contact the event planner directly.

Apple-orchard (PSU)

The Controlling Listeria in Fresh Produce workshop is designed for those who pack, wash, and store fresh produce. Although emphasis is on tree fruit packing, this course will be useful to any type of produce packing or minimal processing operation (e.g., sliced apples, fresh-cut salad vegetables). The information presented will be useful for individuals in plant operations, quality control, maintenance, and sanitation roles. Individuals in the vegetable freezing industry will also find it useful for preventing post blanch contamination with Listeria. Regulators and educators are also invited to attend.

  • When

  • Fri., Mar. 31, 2017
    (8:30 AM - 4:40 PM)

  • Where

  • Penn State Fruit Research & Extension Center
    290 University Dr.
    Biglerville, PA 17308

Listeria monocytogenes has long been a human pathogen of concern in the food industry. Unlike other human pathogens that can be transmitted through food, Listeria can grow in continuous wet and cool food production environments where it can survive for years or decades. Though rare, L. monocytogenes infections can cause serious illness or even death. Although historically a concern in ready-to-eat sliced meats, raw milk, and soft cheeses, a recent succession of recalls or outbreaks traced to Listeria-contaminated fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables (e.g. cucumber, celery, onions, cantaloupe, tree fruit, caramel apples) have alerted the produce industry of the importance of taking all possible measures to prevent contamination with this pathogen.

Course Details

In this one-day course, we will provide a basic understanding of risks associated with Listeria contamination and methods for monitoring and controlling it in tree fruit washing, packing, and storage environments. In the morning, lectures will be presented on potential sources of Listeria monocytogenes, facilities and equipment sanitary design, cleaning and sanitizing methods, and updates on regulatory issues. In the afternoon, we will travel a short distance to a commercial packing house where we will conduct breakout demonstrations and group activities on new methods for cleaning brushes, equipment and floors, verification of cleaning effectiveness using ATP bioluminescence testing, and methods for monitoring the prevalence Listeria in the packing environment through environmental swabbing of food and food-contact surfaces.

Who Should Attend

This workshop is designed for those who pack, wash, and store fresh produce. Although emphasis is on tree fruit packing, this course will be useful to any type of produce packing or minimal processing operation (e.g., sliced apples, fresh-cut salad vegetables). The information presented will be useful for individuals in plant operations, quality control, maintenance, and sanitation roles. Individuals in the vegetable freezing industry will also find it useful for preventing post blanch contamination with Listeria. Regulators and educators are also invited to attend.

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