By Dan Fillius–Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host three Produce Safety Alliance Remote Delivery Grower Training meetings from December through February 2021.
Due to ongoing programmatic changes from COVID-19, these meetings will be facilitated online. The training sessions are for fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). Each class will be led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists.
This course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement that “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration,” outlined in §112.22(c).
A full list of dates, times, and locations can be found through the Iowa State Safe Produce website. The deadline to register for the first class is Dec. 17.
What to Expect
The trainers will spend two half-days with approximately eight hours of instruction time covering content in these eight modules:
- Introduction to Produce Safety.
- Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training.
- Soil Amendments.
- Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use.
- Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water).
- Postharvest Handling and Sanitation.
- How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan.
In addition to learning about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements are outlined within each module. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should be prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.
Benefits of attending the course
The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.
Attending the course should help individuals gain a basic understanding of:
- Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm.
- How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm.
- Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one.
- Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.
Attendees will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course. To receive an AFDO certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course.
Costs to attend
The cost for the workshops is $20 for Iowa residents and residents of the North Central Region and $120 for out-of-region growers. Two growers from the same farm or company can attend for the same cost if they are willing to share a binder. Cost includes PSA manual and certificate of completion.
To register and pay with a credit card, visit the Safe Produce website, and click on the preferred training. To register and pay by check, email [email protected] or call 515-294-6773 and a paper registration form will be sent to you.