The safest way to manage the crop is to minimise any non-essential people from entering the site. All visitors must be informed of the safety and biosecurity measures on the site, ensure that they are fit to enter the premises and sign to confirm that this is the case. Visitors must follow all protocols of the nursery and in some cases this will include the wearing of protective coveralls over their clothes, feet, hands and head whilst on the site. Some nurseries may require a complete change of clothes. Visitors and staff who have recently visited other cropping sites need to pay the greatest attention to hygiene as they pose the greatest risk of cross contaminating crops.
Disinfectant foot baths or mats should be placed at the entrance to each glasshouse block, these need to be checked daily to ensure they are wet and topped up as necessary. In hot weather or high traffic periods more frequent checking will be needed (test kits are available to check efficacy over time for some disinfectants). Shoes should be clean and free from organic matter before dipping and should ideally remain in the solution for at least 30 seconds.
For the prevention of virus spread washing hands in hot soapy water followed by use of alcohol gel has been shown to be most effective. Alcohol foam or gel is the most effective disinfectant for hands to control fungal spores, and must be used at high risk nurseries prior to entry. Rinsing hands in just water or with water and soap alone is not as effective at reducing disease spread. It is important to make sure door handles and common ‘touch’ points are sanitised frequently as these can be points of contamination.
No smoking or food substances are allowed in the production and packing areas. Staff should not bring the same food into the nursery (e.g. salad sandwiches containing tomato onto a tomato nursery) that is being cropped due to the potential for cross infection. Signs to indicate these and other restrictions should be posted around the holding and on glasshouse doors. Places where staff and visitors can smoke and eat should be clearly labelled. The AHDB Protected Edibles Health and Safety DVD provides information on the signs needed on nurseries and can be requested.