24 articles tagged "Food Safety".

In the last two months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several communications dealing with the Produce Safety Rule (PRS). The following is a brief summary of those communications: Guidance On September 5, FDA released Guidance for Industry: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: What You Need to Know About the FDA Regulation – Small Entity Compliance Guide. This is a compliance guide, prepared by FDA, to assist small entities in complying with the PSR. Copies of the document may be downloaded at https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm574281.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. Testing of Agricultural Water On September 11, FDA announced that it had determined that the following water testing methods are “scientifically valid” and “at least equivalent” to the method of analysis (EPA Method 1603) in §112.151(a) in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity: Method 1103.1 – Escherichia coli ( coli) in Water by Membrane Filtration Using membrane-Thermotolerant Escherichia[Read More…]


The new SafeProduceIN website is now live and may be accessed at www.SafeProduceIN.com. SafeProduceIN is a collaboration between Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana State Department of Health. The purpose of the collaboration is to assist Indiana produce growers with implementation of the Produce Safety Rule.  The new website will serve as a one-stop website where growers can submit produce food safety related questions, access food safety and FSMA resources, and register for trainings.


Managing domestic animals in a direct market venue can be very challenging. While best practice is to exclude domestic animals from production and packing areas, produce may be exposed to domestic animals at the point of sale if selling at a produce auction or farmers market. When selling through a direct market venue, growers should take steps to exclude domestic animals from produce. This may mean appropriate signs discouraging or prohibiting pets or a designated area where buyers may tie-up their pets away from the display area. Service animals present a special case. Service animals are protected by both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Indiana Law. Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. The tasks or work the animal does must be directly related to the[Read More…]


Figure 2. Pooling of water.Pooling is the collection of water in a low area of the field as is shown in a low corner of this asparagus planting.

Recent heavy rains across much of the state have resulted in widespread ponding and flooding in fields. This creates multiple considerations for those growing produce for fresh consumption.  Flooding and pooling create food safety challenges because of their potential to introduce contaminants (i.e. risk) into the production system. However, with proper management, many of these risks can be mitigated. Following heavy rains, growers should first determine if water in their fields is the result of pooling or flooding. Pooling is more common than flooding.  Pooled water generally accumulates in lower areas of the field or between rows, especially if raised beds are used. The key distinction between flood water and pooled water is that flood water originates from an uncontrollable source such as a river or creek.  Standing water that originated from a river or creek would still be considered flood water. Pooled water can cause damage to crops, but[Read More…]


The North Central Regional FSMA Center is again seeking fresh produce growers input in order to determine how they can help growers comply with the Produce Safety Rule of FSMA.  This is the second survey for fresh produce growers and will take about 5 minutes to complete. Your inputs, whether you responded to the first survey or not, are needed to develop useful and relevant materials for producers like you!  We recognize your time is valuable so as a token of appreciation we will hold drawings after each survey round and award three participants a $50 gift card. Note entry in the drawing will require that you provide your name and contact information.  There will be an optional link at the end of the survey for you to enter your information.  Your contact information is NOT tied to your responses and participation in the survey is completely voluntary.  Any questions should be[Read More…]


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Amanda Deering is the Indiana Leader for the North Central Region Center for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Training, Extension and Technical Assistance. As the state leader, she is responsible for identifying and notifying partner organizations, businesses, and agencies in Indiana that can assist with communicating and disseminating information about FSMA to fruit and vegetable producers. In addition, the Center is asking growers to complete a brief, anonymous survey to introduce fruit and vegetable growers to the Center and to help them determine if they will need to comply with the FSMA Produce Rule. This will also help determine the top educational needs in Indiana.  The survey can be found at http://qeasttrial.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8FWKOX9AYADrWqF. We recognize that your time is extremely valuable so as a token of appreciation, the Center will hold a drawing and award three participants a $50 gift card. Note entry in the drawing will require that you provide your name[Read More…]


I have recently received calls from growers who use surface water to irrigate produce crops. Their concern was that the results of their current water tests were very different from their last tests and that levels of indicator organisms appeared to have increased dramatically. Ponds and lakes that are used for irrigation can be very dynamic. Research has shown that levels of indicator organisms can change dramatically in a very short time. Because surface water is open to the environment and unprotected, changes in temperature and weather can affect ponds and lakes. During the spring and autumn seasons, ponds and lakes undergo inversions, stirring up sediments that have settled on the bottom of the pond. Rainfall can also cause bottom sediments to be stirred up. Bottom sediments may contain any number of materials. Soil particles from runoff are one of the primary components. Decaying bits of plant and animal debris may also be found in bottom[Read More…]


Do you grow spinach or lettuce in Northwest Indiana? Drs. Lindsay Gielda and Scott Bates in the Dept. of Biological Sciences at Purdue University Northwest would like to collect a few samples from your farm. They are studying how the endosymbiotic fungi that naturally live on spinach and lettuce might inhibit the growth of pathogenic E. coli strains on these plants. They need samples from a variety of farms (large and small) in order to gain a better understanding of the diversity of endosymbiotic fungi that occur in this area. If your farm is within 60 miles of Westville, Indiana and you would be willing to allow them to collect a sample sometime between 05-01-2016 and 07-31-2016, please call or email Dr. Gielda at (773) 655-6217 or lgielda@pnw.edu.


In January 2016, Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, otherwise known as the Produce Rule, became law. This rule, as part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act, sets a standard for produce food safety. The water testing component of the produce rule requires growers to regularly test irrigation water. While a previous article dealt with water testing requirements, I’ve received questions as to exactly who is required to test water. As a result, I wanted to review the steps in determining whether or not one is held to the water testing requirement. The first step is to determine if you are covered by the produce rule. An excellent flowchart to help determine coverage may be found at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM472499.pdf. If you’re gross produce sales averaged $25,000 or less in the last three years or you are growing produce for your own personal consumption only, then your farm is[Read More…]


The Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule addresses many issues with regard produce food safety. One issue not addressed is the issue of biological soil amendments of animal origin (i.e. manure). When issuing the rule, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chose to leave blank those portions of the rule dealing with the required interval between manure application and harvest of covered crops pending a comprehensive risk assessment by the agency. FDA has initiated its comprehensive risk assessment process by publishing a request for scientific data, information, and comments in the Federal Register on March 4. There will, most likely, be other requests for comments as FDA investigates the issue and incorporates its findings into the produce rule. The entire request, along with instructions for submitting comments, can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/03/04/2016-04712/risk-assessment-of-foodborne-illness-associated-with-pathogens-from-produce-grown-in-fields-amended  


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