Pointers for preventing glass contamination on the farm

Glass can be a serious physical contaminant in fruit and vegetable operations. Keeping glass out requires both enacting preventive measures and constant vigilance to avoid opportunities for contamination.

Any glass that enters the field, no matter what condition it is in, has a potential to break and contaminate produce. Think for a minute about the potential sources of glass contamination that exist from the time produce is harvested, washed, packed and transported to market. Is there a potential for glass contamination?

Mirrors and headlights on tractors

These can pose in-field hazards if they are broken. To minimize this, use clear packing tape to cover the glass and render them shatterproof

Lights above wash and pack lines

If lights burst, glass shards could rain down into produce. Cover light fixtures above pack lines and any that may be over the path that food travels through washing, packing and storage. If covering individual fixtures is not possible, Teflon covered lights are available that are shatterproof.

Glass jars, jugs or eating implements

Neighbors or farmworkers can inadvertently introduce glass objects that can break and contaminate food. A strict, no glass policy for farm workers with consequences if workers are noncompliant can help to minimize glass introduced in that manner. Placing a barrier between neighbors who may introduce glass into the field or posting no trespassing signs can reduce traffic into a field and subsequent potential hazards due to glass.

If you have specific questions about glass contamination or have difficulty tailoring GAPs to your farm, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at gaps@msu.edu or 517-788-4292. To obtain a guidance document further explaining how to craft a glass contamination policy, ask for Guidance Document AFSM025-01.

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