Andrea Cairone unsplash harvest grapes

Postharvest Handling & Sanitation

UC Publications on Postharvest Handling

A selection of publications focusing on postharvest control of microbial decay and spoilage. The emphasis of these publications is on disinfection of edible horticultural crops and guidelines for controlling Listeria monocytogenes.

General Information


Commodity-Specific Postharvest Food Safety Resources

Fact Sheets

  • Harvest Container Cleaning (Food Safety Clearinghouse) This resource document outlines the steps of cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and offers examples of policy and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) statements that you can adapt to write a harvest container policy for your farm that is in compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and the FSMA PSR.
  • Introduction to Selecting an EPA-Labeled Sanitizer (Produce Safety Alliance, PDF 3.7 MB) The use of properly labeled sanitizers (i.e., antimicrobial sanitizers) in water that comes in contact with fruits and vegetables or after harvest is highly encouraged to reduce the risk of cross-contamination by human pathogens. 
  • Reducing Food Safety Risks in the Packhouse (Penn State Extension) Basic sanitation recommendations for keeping packing areas clean and appropriately sanitary. 


  • Cleaning and Sanitizing (Vimeo, University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension) Cleaning and sanitizing equipment are critically important steps in preventing microbial contamination of food products. 
  • Food Contact Surfaces (YouTube, New Mexico State University) In this training video, we will cover the importance of properly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces, the risks associated with dirty food contact surfaces and examples of what is considered a food contact surface. 
  • Importance of Cleaning Food Contact Surfaces (Cornell University) This presentation will cover the importance of cleaning and sanitation a food contact surfaces in food processing plants. 
  • Packing Zones and Cleaning (YouTube, New Mexico State University) In this training video, we will discuss the various zones within produce sorting and packing facilities and produce processing operations. We will discuss the various risks associated with each zone and instructions on how to identify those zones.
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing Cold Storage for Produce Safety (Plant Science Food Safety Group) This presentation covers what an effective cleaning and sanitizing strategy looks like for cold storage units, and what it means to have a complete sanitation program.