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Materials For The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association (OGVGA) and The Ontario Vegetable Growers Marketing Board (OVGMB)

01.sep.01, Powell, Ruiz, Whitfield, Food Safety Network


Addressing the safety of cucumbers and tomatoes from the greenhouse to transportation


REPORT - The purpose of this document is to provide practical and comprehensive guidance to ensure the production of safe produce, based on a systematic approach to the identification of potential sources of microbiological hazards associated with fresh produce, primarily tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, and the definition of means for their control. Similar to a HACCP system, this approach focuses on prevention and control and is advocated for every critical stage in the processing chain.

This guidance does not address other hazards to the food supply or environment (such as fungicides or chemical contaminants), nor address proper handling regimes to ensure the safety of fresh produce at retail, foodservice, or in the home, which are also important links in the farm-to-fork pathway. Further, this document is a guideline only, leaving each grower and processor with the flexibility to implement in a manner suitable for individual operations.

The following guidelines are consistent with those published by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Horticulture Council. As increased information and new technologies permit better understanding of the factors impacting identification and reduction of risks within the fresh vegetable industry, the guidelines provided herein will evolve.

MANUAL - During the summer and fall of 1998, Dr. Douglas Powell and colleagues from the University of Guelph visited several greenhouses, packers and distributors. These visits, along with a comprehensive review of the epidemiological and food safety literature pertaining to fresh fruits and vegetables, formed the basis for an on-farm food safety program for the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG).

The purpose of this initiative was to identify the science-based critical control points found in the production of greenhouse vegetables in Ontario and to implement steps to minimize the risks from microbiological contamination of these same products. Through consultation with the OGVG board of directors and members of the association, the final report was developed into a practical and comprehensive guide, contained within this binder.

While this manual is meant to include all members of the OGVG, only portions may apply to specific operators. For example, testing of dump tank water quality would apply only to packing sheds. Sections have been created to make it easier to determine what programs/steps should be taken during each stage of production, whether growing, harvesting, packing or shipping. Checklists have also been provided to help determine that all of the necessary steps have been taken.

CONTEXT FOR OVGMB REPORT (find full document below)

Under an agreement dated March 18, 1998, between Dr. Douglas Powell and the Ontario Vegetable Growers Marketing Board, Dr. Powell was to provide a comprehensive review of the epidemiological and food safety literature to identify the science-based critical control points found in the production of red beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, green peas, green and wax beans, lima beans, peppers, pumpkin, squash, sweet corn and tomatoes for processing. Dr. Powell was also to complete a comprehensive risk reduction strategy for use by the growers of processing vegetables in Ontario.

Over the summer and fall of 1998, OVGMB staff, directors, and Dr. Powell have visited producers and processors of cucumbers, sweet corn, tomatoes, cauliflower and carrots. A draft report was presented and reviewed by the OVGMB board of directors, and subsequently presented during the joint annual meeting of OVGMB and the Ontario Food Processors Association. Comments arising from these consultations were incorporated into the final report. The author recognizes and is grateful for the contributions made by Mauricio Bobadilla Ruiz and Sarah Grant of the University of Guelph.

Related Files

Filename File Type File Size Date
OVGMB_report.pdfPDF File72.14 KB29.Sep.11
OGVGA_report.pdfPDF File62.63 KB29.Sep.11
OGVGA_manual.pdfPDF File277.23 KB29.Sep.11