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Florida Growers Develop Food Safety Standards

Florida citrus growers will give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a good agricultural practices document that demonstrates how the industry is working to assure that the fruit they pack is safe.  

In a proactive move, the Indian River Citrus League, the Florida Citrus Packers Inc., and Lakeland-based fresh packers trade association teamed up to write the so-called GAP document in anticipation of new food-safety guidelines.  The group wanted to help ensure that any new recommendations are specific to citrus and not generalized for other kinds of produce.

The document covers all the state’s growers and packinghouses as well as citrus grown for fresh and processed markets, the league’s executive president Doug Bournique explained to The Packer.

Bournique said the project compiled all of the safety practices growers follow, from planting citrus trees to shipping fruit to domestic and overseas receivers, to ensure that products are uncontaminated.  He told The Packer that 90 percent of the practices are already in place, but have not been detailed in one, all-encompassing document.

Similar guidelines were written in the 1990s for water and production best management practices.

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