Aug 18, 2022
Updated food safety guidelines for dry bulb onions available

The National Onion Association (NOA) and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) are releasing the second edition of Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Dry Bulb Onion Supply Chain.

The guidelines follow a year of collaboration with dry bulb onion industry members, researchers and government officials.

“This document represents the best in our industry – the best science, the best practices, and the best intentions to instill confidence in all who eat onions that the U.S. dry bulb onion industry is committed to providing a safe, sustainable product,” Greg Yielding, executive vice president and chief executive of the NOA,” said in a news release.

The United States dry bulb onion industry established a food safety framework and guidance document in 2010. The updated document takes into account new scientific findings and the evolution in onion production and handling practices across the United States.

In July 2021, the IFPA, in collaboration with NOA, convened a working group who continued to meet in-person and remotely over the course of 8 months to provide clarity and context within the greater goals of public health for fresh produce.

“Incorporating specific details to onion production and updating scientific literature will help support not only U.S. onion growers and packers in building and maintaining their food safety programs, but also will educate other individuals working within the onion supply chain including regulators, auditors, and produce buyers who may not be as familiar with onion production and handling practices,” Gretchen Wall, director of food safety and quality at IFPA, who organized the update, said in the release.

“Although the document was developed by the U.S. dry bulb onion industry, the fundamentals are broadly applicable, and the document can be adapted for production in other growing regions,” she said.

On July 7, 2020, Wall shared the final draft of the updated document with NOA members at its annual convention in Boise, Idaho, and IFPA will continue to assist the onion industry with next steps.

“The first edition published in December 2010 was insightful and the updated document reflects a collaborative effort from all facets of the industry to best represent onion production and ensure that growers have access to the education necessary to minimize risks during growing, packing, and shipping,” said Kay Riley, former NOA president, a member of the working group for both editions, and a retired onion grower at Snake River Produce, Nyssa, Oregon.

The NOA and IFPA are hosting a free web seminar from 2-3 p.m. Eastern Oct. 18. Extension professionals engaged in food safety research for onion production and handling will present highlights of the new best practices document and next steps in food safety education, outreach and research needs for the dry bulb onion industry. The webinar is free to attend and open to the public. Register for the webinar.

For more information or to access the Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for the Dry Bulb Onion Supply Chain, visit the IFPA or NOA websites.

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