The Safety and Regulation of Chickpeas, Lentils, and Field Peas in Farming and Post-Harvest Operations
Pulses are food legumes and include the seeds of dry field peas, lentils, and chickpeas. This family of agricultural commodities plays an important role in human nutrition worldwide and has an extensive track record of safety. Familiar foods in North America made from these three commodities include hummus, split pea soup, dahl, and canned garbanzos. Raw, dry packed chickpeas, lentils, and field peas are never intended as a ready-to-eat food and must be further processed to be edible. Pulses that have been harvested, stored, cleaned, and bulk packed rarely introduce chemical or physical hazards into the food supply chain. They are further thermally processed to minimize biological hazards. Although growing, storage, cleaning, and packing of pulses is more akin to primary agriculture than to food processing, controls such as pest control, good manufacturing practices, audits, screens, magnets, gravity tables, and dry equipment cleaning all serve to ensure product safety. Several of the regulations adopted under Congress’ Food Safety Modernization Act, including updated registration requirements, the Produce Safety rule, and preventive controls for both human and animal food, may apply to the agronomy, cleaning, and packing of pulses. Exemptions within these rules and withheld U.S. Food and Drug Administration enforcement reduce some industry compliance requirements.
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