Keep Produce and Produce Pickers Safe From Contamination

produce pickers4.29.2015

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies

Who is Picking your Produce?

How Post-harvest Pesticide Use Affects Their Health

When your produce is picked from the field, more often than not, it is washed with some sort of antimicrobial agent. This can serve a couple different purposes; one to extend the shelf life of produce, while the other to ensure the customer does not consume any nasty microbes or pathogens gathered from the field. While all of these solutions must be registered by the EPA, they are not all created equal. And while many of these registered pesticides may achieve the minimum required pathogen reduction, a much higher concentration is usually to do so, with more steps needed.

How does pesticide use affect the picker?

There are different methods of applying a post-harvest antimicrobial treatment: a couple of days before actual harvest, and right after harvest has occurred. In both instances, the people who pick the produce and who are responsible for the application of the chemicals are exposed. Therefore, it is important to consider their health when you are deciding what type of pesticide to use as your post-harvest produce wash.

Often, chemicals must be diluted to use concentrations, or multiple chemical activators need to be mixed to create the secondary chemical responsible for the antimicrobial action. This creates unnecessary exposure to those responsible for handling them. This hazard can increase the chance of an accident such as inhalation, chemical burns, or spills. It also increases the total amount of extended exposure, which could cause long-term health issues if not properly protected.

In addition, in order to be effective, many of these pesticides have to be present in higher concentrations than their counterparts. This is due to the low selectivity of thematerial, or the oxidation potential. Again, this amounts to an unnecessary amount of exposure.   

The Solution

When choosing a product to serve as a sanitizing rinse, along with everything else, you must take your worker’s health into consideration. The above issues are good guidelines to consider. Selective Micro Technologies can offer a product which only requires water to activate at the point of use. A proprietary sachet of chemicals is added to a chemical mixing tank, along with water, and after a period of generation, the user has pure chlorine dioxide.

Pure ClO₂ also has very low oxidation potential, meaning it is much less likely to react with inorganic objects. That means a much lower concentration is needed to achieve sanitization of produce. To learn more, about safely decontaminating your produce, contact Selective Micro Technologies today!

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