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Home Grown

Home Grown: Safe practices for growing produce

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Ag field

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - In order to get safe food into the grocery stores, it starts with safe growing practices.

Amy Karvasky, Association Manager for Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association says the main element of safe growing is preventing any outside invaders from getting in contact with the produce.

She says anything like cars, animals, animal droppings, insects or other contaminates are all things that can impact the health and safety of the produce.

"Food is grown outside. It is not grown in a bubble, right?" Karvasky said. "So, we are constantly looking for outside invasion, and that could be from the smallest insect to cars that run off the side of the road and drive into these farmer's fields."

It is also important for the organization to educate farmers on the proper practices.

"Making sure your hands are washed, the implements are washed, making sure the vegetables are not only picked properly but then packaged properly," Karvasky said. "We have new labels that are coming out that ensure the freshness of the vegetables, but then on top of that it lets the consumers know where these items come from."

Lupe Camarena, a border member with the Yuma Safe Produce Association says there are even steps the public can do to help prevent contamination.

"Things like do not litter, do not enter agricultural fields without permission, do not dispose of anything in the fields or canals, keep animals away from fields," Camarena said.

Safe handling is needed all the way until the produce is consumed. This includes proper harvesting and packaging methods.

News / Yuma County
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April Hettinger

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