WENATCHEE — The transformation of apples to apple juice comes with more hazards than you might think.
That’s where Faith Critzer and Girish Ganjyal come in. The two food scientists from Washington State University help the state’s produce handlers get their fruit from tree to table with less chance of infection, damage or danger to human health.
“We’re gonna cover biological hazards, characteristics of certain microorganisms, and then also move into chemical hazards and physical hazards,” Critzer told a group of 17 workshop enrollees in Wenatchee on Tuesday.
If it sounds boring, it’s actually crucial to the food you eat. WSU’s two-day workshop outlines Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP, a system that helps fruit packing houses and processors alleviate health dangers in packaging and preparing food. HACCP certification is required for most food processors in the United States, and it allows those companies to more freely ship their goods to other countries.
At Critzer and Ganjyal’s course, employees and managers in the industry lined up to renew their certificates.
The HACCP program is a child of the original space program, where keeping contaminants out of astronauts’ food and work environments was a must. After 1960, it’s been heavily adopted by other industries where cleanliness is its own reward.
“You’ve got to do a really thorough hazard analysis to be able to develop a food safety system and ensure that your food is safe,” Ganjyal says. “That’s really the backbone of it.”
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013