Conference for Food Protection

2018 Biennial Meeting

Issue View | Council III | 2018 Scribe Packet

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Issue Number: Council III 011

Issue History

This is a brand new Issue.


PWWC 2 – Amend Food Code to add definition for “CRISPING”

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

The Produce Wash Water Committee was created at the 2016 Biennial Meeting. The Committee was charged to review applicable rules and regulations pertaining to the use of water and chemicals for washing, rinsing, crisping, processing, and/or other treatments of Raw Agricultural Commodities (RAC) and ready-to-eat (RTE) fruits and vegetables as it relates to food establishments.

As the relevant materials were reviewed, limited information on crisping was found, even though produce crisping is a common practice used by food establishments for the purpose of improving produce quality. There is no consistent or uniform definition or application for the crisping process. Crisping can be accomplished by holding fresh produce under running water, by immersion in water for a time sufficient to allow for rehydration, by submersion in ice water, or by refrigeration after submersion.

The crisping process is not currently defined or referenced in the FDA Food Code. The Produce Washing Committee identified specific areas in the Food Code where amendments and definitions can provide further clarity to regulators and food establishments.

Public Health Significance

Whole or fresh-cut produce may contain pathogenic microorganisms and at times have been associated with foodborne illness and outbreaks. Efforts have been undertaken by the produce industry and regulators (e.g., Food Safety Modernization Act and the Produce Safety Rule) to minimize the risk of contamination of fresh produce. However, without a "kill step" a potential risk remains. In the event that contaminated product is received into a food establishment, washing and crisping practices introduce an additional risk. In food establishments, produce is washed before being cut, etc. as per the recommendation of the FDA Food Code, but it should be noted that washing has a limited effect on removing pathogens from the produce surface. When produce items are submerged in water the chance for cross-contamination presents a public health risk. Further, the practice of crisping could introduce an additional risk since contaminated water may internalize pathogens during the crisping process. When other procedures such as washing/sanitizing the sink before use are not followed, food contact surfaces can also contribute to cross-contamination. These practices demonstrate the need to consider additional or alternative efforts to reduce the risks associated with fresh produce handling practices at food establishments.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to FDA requesting to amend the most recent edition of the Food Code by adding a definition for "CRISPING" to section 1-201.10 and including CRISPING within 3-302.15 "Washing Fruits and Vegetables" (language to be added is underlined; language to be deleted is in strikethrough format).

1-201.10(B) Terms Defined

"CRISPING" means the practice of exposing fresh produce to water for the purpose of improving quality. CRISPING can be accomplished by holding fresh produce under running water or by immersion in water for a time sufficient to allow for rehydration. In addition, CRISPING may include a method for chilling such as submersion in ice water or refrigeration after submersion.

3-302.15 Washing and Crisping Fruits and Vegetables.

(A) Except as specified in ¶ (B) of this section and except for whole, raw fruits and vegetables that are intended for washing by the CONSUMER before consumption, raw fruits and vegetables shall be thoroughly washed in water to remove soil and other contaminants before being cut, combined with other ingredients, cooked, served, or offered for human consumption in READY-TO- EAT form.

(B) Fruits and vegetables may be washed or CRISPED by using chemicals as specified under § 7-204.12.

(C) Devices used for on-site generation of chemicals meeting the requirements specified in 21 CFR 173.315, Chemicals used in the washing or CRISPING or to assist in the peeling of fruits and vegetables, for the washing or CRISPING of raw, whole fruits and vegetables shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

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