This handbook helps conservation planners who work with produce growers, and the growers themselves, to co-manage food safety and conservation by understanding food safety risks in the growing environment, and by learning details of how specific management practices may reduce or increase food safety risk.
In a climate of food-safety angst, knowing the basics of managing crops and conservation practices to address food safety can go a long way in maintaining on-farm conservation plantings while reducing the risk of pathogen contamination.
Evidence indicates that conservation practices and natural areas can often reduce pathogen risk while providing many other benefits, such as soil and water conservation, and habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. By using risk assessment strategies and explaining their rationale for management decisions that include conservation measures, farmers can more effectively advocate for their farming practices with buyers and food safety auditors.
Learn about co-managing food safety and conservation in specialty crops by increasing your understanding about the fate and transport of food-borne pathogens, and about multiple conservation and food safety practices that when used together can minimize food safety concerns.
Farmers are left between a rock and a hard place, forced to comply with onerous food safety practices and to ignore environmental laws, when many think this state of affairs could also increase the risk of contamination.
Environmental Destruction in the Salinas Valley: "Food Safety" Requirements to Remove Habitat Make Leafy Greens Less Safe
Habitat destruction occurred after the 2006 spinach contamination in California's Salinas Valley. Over a mile of habitat a 100' wide was bulldozed.