First aid kits prevent produce contamination

First aid kits are necessary on produce farms. When it comes to food safety, have first aid supplies ready.

Blood and bodily fluids on produce are a serious threat to food safety. For the health of the worker and the safety of the produce, growers need to have first aid supplies ready when workers are bleeding and take prompt action.

Having first aid kits available to workers at all times is critically important. If it is not convenient to seek first aid, workers will be more likely to continue working and risk contaminating the crop. Growers may wish to either equip supervisors with a first aid kit or place a first aid kit next to a handwashing station.

All first aid kits should contain bandages, ointment and gloves (nitrile, latex or another surgical type). Larger-sized bandages, scissors or surgical tape are convenient and may also be included. During harvest season, it is important to monitor first aid kits and replace contents that are used. As with any monitoring, there needs to be an associated written record of the monitoring and what contents were replaced.

Workers who sustain a minor cut on their hands should seek out a supervisor for first aid. The cut should be cleaned and bandaged, then the bandaged area covered by a surgical glove before the worker returns to work. The last step in handling injuries is for the supervisor to record the injury in an illness and injury log.

If you have specific questions about first aid kits or have difficulty tailoring Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) to your farm, contact the Michigan State University Extension Agrifood Safety Work Group at or 517-788-4292. For more information on first aid kits with regards to GAPs, ask for AFSM017-01.

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