Guidance for Processing Fresh-cut Produce in Retail Operations
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The following is a description of this publication:
The International Fresh-cut Produce Association (IFPA) defines fresh-cut produce as "any fresh-cut fruit or vegetable or any combination thereof that has been physically altered but remains in the fresh state. These products are items such as bagged salads, baby cut carrots and broccoli florets." This definition covers a wide range of products which require vastly different handling practices. This definition is broadened to include the repacking of fresh-cut herbs and their use on packaged fresh-cut products manufactured in the retail setting and/or held for sale. This guidance will give general recommendations for fresh-cut produce, but is not intended to be applicable for all instances.
This guidance has been prepared in response to a notable increase in on-site retail processing (manufacturing) of foods traditionally processed in controlled plant environments. Such retail processing can involve, but is not limited to acidifying, smoking, drying, fermenting, curing, reduced oxygen packaging, and other operations that are traditionally done at a food manufacturing plant level. The key distinction for processing as related to this guidance is that the processing occurs on-site in the retail setting. This guidance is intended for retailers and regulatory personnel to help understand the controls to implement in a retail operation in order to process and sell safe food products. It can be referenced in developing considerations for variances for any exception or special provision to state or local food safety or sanitary codes. It addresses those special variances required by the FDA Food Code which may require HACCP plans for those jurisdictions that have adopted those portions of the FDA Food Code. In addition, it also applies to regulatory oversight and/or approval for regulatory overlap that may occur between the states processing requirements and the state or local retail food safety and sanitary codes. This guidance assumes retail compliance with applicable retail food codes, prerequisite standard sanitary operations procedures, and labeling requirements specified in 21 CFR 101. This guidance is not intended to replace or duplicate existing regulations, but it does offer a reference for more uniform practices.
This guidance is not a binding set of requirements. The information provided in the guidance are recommendations based on current science, commercial experience and practical considerations as assembled by the assigned committees and reviewed by a variety of selected experts and the Project Steering Committee. Use of these recommendations would likely result in retail processing practices that are acceptable to the pertinent authorities for food safety. Retail compliance and enforcement will remain within the interpretations and decisions of the pertinent state and local regulatory authorities.