Small Farm Food Safety, Fresh Produce—Part 1: Introduction to the PACE Principles1

Amy Simonne, M. E. Swisher, Kelly N. Moore, and Kaylene Sattanno 2

Overview

Small Farm Food Safety, Fresh Produce is a short, interactive training program that introduces food safety concepts as applied to fresh produce. The concepts are based on the FDA's Guide to Minimized Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (FDA-GAPs).

Part 1 consists of an introduction and an introductory slide show about the PACE principles.

Time required: 10 minutes

Materials for Trainer

  • Computer with PowerPoint, LCD projector, screen

  • "Keep PACE!" (Power Point slides)*

Advance Preparation for Trainer

Review Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, October 1998. Review "Produce Safety from Production to Consumption: 2004 Action Plan to Minimize Foodborne Illness Associated with Fresh Produce Consumption" at http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm129487.htm.

Additional Resources

Materials for Participants

None

Objectives

Introduce the idea of food safety on the farm through an overview of the PACE principles.

Procedure

Present the slides and lead a discussion of the key principles that they illustrate. Make sure to discuss the key points indicated. Encourage engagement in the learning process by asking participants to comment on their own experiences.

Figure 1. Title
Figure 1.  Title

Figure 2. Credits
Figure 2.  Credits

Figure 3. PACE
Figure 3.  PACE

Each letter in PACE represents an important idea for reducing microbial contamination.

  • Current technologies cannot eliminate all potential food safety hazards associated with fresh produce that will be eaten raw.

  • Therefore, our aim is risk reduction, not risk elimination.

Figure 4. Prevention
Figure 4.  Prevention

The first PACE principle is Prevention.

  • Prevention is a philosophy and mindset that we can lose easily when our lives are too busy.

  • Relying on corrective actions alone is not good enough. Fixing a problem usually takes more time than preventing the problem in the first place.

  • If we fail to prevent contamination, we make more work for ourselves in the long run and we are more likely to suffer legal consequences.

Figure 5. Accountablilty
Figure 5.  Accountablilty

The second PACE principle is Accountability.

  • Accountability is key at all levels of the food system: the farm, the packing facility, the distribution center, and the transportation system.

  • Qualified personnel and effective monitoring are critical for ensuring that every element of the food safety program functions correctly.

Figure 6. Control
Figure 6.  Control

The third PACE principle is Control.

  • Today's agricultural operations rely on an increasingly specialized and segmented network of suppliers and distributors.

  • Many factors affect the ecosystems where farms are located.

  • Producers must be knowledgeable about both the human and the environmental factors that affect their farms and do their best to minimize their contribution to microbial contamination.

Figure 7. Education
Figure 7.  Education

The fourth PACE principle is Education.

  • Worker hygiene and sanitation practices during production, harvesting, sorting, packing, and transport play a critical role in minimizing the potential for microbial contamination.

  • Everyone involved must be educated and held accountable for worker hygiene and sanitation.

  • Everyone who is a part of the production process must understand the food safety program on the farm.

  • Adequate, ongoing education makes this possible.

The Next Step

Part 2 in the series is an activity entitled "The Buck Stops Here," which discusses the consequences of foodborne illness outbreaks.

To obtain copies of the DVD that accompanies this publication, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore at 1-800-226-1764 or order online at http://www.ifasbooks.com.

Footnotes

1. This document is FCS8842, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 2007. Revised June 2014 and July 2017. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Amy Simonne, professor; M. E. Swisher, professor; Kelly N. Moore, lecturer; and Kaylene Sattanno, program assistant, Florida SARE Program, Center for Sustainable and Organic Food Systems; Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.