Food Safety Modernization Act Workshops
Produce Growers have been monitoring developments in food safety for many years. There have been a number of tragic episodes, where some type of produce became contaminated with a dangerous microorganism, which led to illness and even death in the people who consumed the product. Produce growers are especially concerned that they do not do contribute to the problem by producing an unsafe product.
In an effort to prevent these tragic incidents, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA is administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the requirements of FSMA is that growers selling over $25,000 of produce covered under the act must attend a food safety workshop. There are other exemptions to the rule if farmers are mostly selling directly to consumers.
FSMA includes rules for produce growers intended to reduce the risk of contamination from E. coli, listeria, salmonella and other disease-causing microbes. The rules set standards related to water quality, use of manure and compost, and worker health and hygiene.
The Extension services of most Land-Grant Universities are involved with conducting these workshops. This includes the University of Missouri and Kansas State University. Dr. Londa Nwadike works for both MU and KSU, and is coordinating these workshops.
For a full list, take a look at this web page: http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/produce. Check out the section titled “FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Training”.
The nine-hour workshop covers how to identify risks, best practices to reduce risks, key parts of the FSMA’s produce safety rule, and how to develop a farm food safety plan.
Participants will be eligible to receive a Certificate of Course Attendance from the Association of Food and Drug Officials that verifies they have attended the course, which is a requirement to comply with the FSMA produce safety rule. Certificates are issued to individuals who attend the course and do not stay with the farm or organization if those individuals leave.
The workshops are sponsored by the University of Missouri, Kansas State University, Lincoln University, and the Kansas and Missouri departments of agriculture.
For growers in the Jamesport area, a workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, November 7th. If you would like to attend this workshop, please call the Daviess County Extension Center at 660-663-3232, to get your name on the list. There is a $50 registration cost, which includes materials and lunch. Attendance is limited to the first 50 people who register.
This workshop will also be available at the Great Plains Growers Conference in St. Joseph. It will be held on Thursday, January 11, 2018. The registration cost to attend the FSMA workshop at the Great Plains Growers Conference will be approximately $95.
Growers must attend the entire nine hours to get credit for taking the course.