32 articles tagged "Food Safety".

Fruit and vegetable farmers, wholesale produce buyers, agency personnel, and others are invited to attend a Community Meeting to discuss the potential development of an Indiana Fresh Produce Food Safety Audit Service. This community event is a critical component of a study being conducted by New Venture Advisors and Liz Maynard to assess whether or not an Indiana Food Safety Audit Service should be developed and, if so, how it should be structured. This community meeting will be an opportunity for us to hear from fruit and vegetable farmers who would want to utilize an Indiana Audit Service and are interested in helping to shape the concept. We are also seeking ideas and feedback from wholesale produce buyers, members of state agencies and other stakeholders in Indiana. When: Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Eastern Time Location: Third Floor, Discovery Hall, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis RSVP by Friday March 18th: Liz Maynard,[Read More…]

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. Not all growers are covered by the rule. An excellent flowchart to help determine coverage may be found at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM472499.pdf.  Those growers who are covered by the rule will have from 2-4 years, depending on farm size (defined by gross sales), to be in compliance. All growers will then receive an additional 2 years to comply with the water testing component of the rule. The water testing component of the produce rule requires growers to regularly test irrigation water. Growers irrigating with surface water (ponds, lakes, streams, ditches) are required to collect and test 20 samples over a two-year period in order to establish a baseline. Once the baseline is established, 5 samples[Read More…]

If you are an organic grower and use manure and compost, you might be interested in spending a few minutes to participate this survey conducted by University of California-Davis, The Organic Center and Organic Trade Association. The purpose of the survey is to characterize the use of manure and compost based soil amendments. Results from the survey will be used to study the use of untreated manure and compost in organic agriculture and the impacts of those practices on food safety. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/manurefoodsafety

In November 2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final version of Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, otherwise known as the Produce Rule, in the Federal Register. Sixty days later, in January 2016, the rule became law.  The Produce Rule is one of several new regulations mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in January 2011. I have had many growers ask whether or not they are covered by this new rule. FDA has put out an excellent flow chart to help determine coverage.  It can be found online at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/UCM472499.pdf. When determining coverage, there are some key questions that growers should ask: What is the value of my produce sales? Growers whose produce sales have averaged $25,000 or less for the past three years are not covered by this rule. What crops am[Read More…]

​There are certain questions within our culture for which there are simply no good answers. For example, how many times have we heard the classic question, “If a tree falls in a woods and there’s no one to hear it, does it still make a sound?” One question I’ve been asked recently, for which the answer is equally elusive, is “How long must I wait to grow vegetables after applying manure to the field?” With the 2015 season quickly winding down, it will soon be time to start making plans for next year’s crops. Part of those plans will undoubtedly include the question of manure use. While manure is a good source of plant nutrients and organic matter, it may also contain human pathogens that can be transferred onto fresh fruits and vegetables. After manure is applied to a field, the bacterial community in the manure changes as it adapts[Read More…]

​Recently the USDA announced the addition of a new third-party auditing service that will be available through the Ag Marketing Service (AMS). The service, called “GroupGAP”, will be available in the spring of 2016. The expansion of the service follows multi-year piloting and testing of the program. Under the GroupGAP program, independent farms may organize under a central entity, such as a food hub or grower cooperative, to create a food safety system. Participating farms are responsible for collectively developing food safety practices and collecting required documentation. Entities will also be responsible for providing their own internal auditing services. They will also participate in an external audit by USDA-AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Service. Growers marketing through food hubs, cooperatives, produce auctions, or other collective entities may benefit from this program. The full press release and details from USDA may be found at http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/10/22/groupgap-program-brings-new-market-opportunities-for-farmers/.

Photo of Dr. Amanda Deering

​Amanda Deering started her Extension/Research appointment July 1, 2015 in a new role as a Clinical Assistant Professor in fresh produce food safety. Amanda grew up on a farm in a small farming community located in the “thumb” of Michigan and joined the Food Science department in the fall of 2013 as a Research Assistant Professor. Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in plant biology from Central Michigan University. She completed her Ph.D. at Purdue University in food microbiology and food safety specializing in fresh produce food safety. Her research focuses on examining internalization of human pathogenic bacteria in plants, as well as routes of contamination that can contribute to plants harboring pathogenic bacteria. Amanda works closely with industry to develop and test novel sanitization treatments that can be used for fresh produce. She also has been involved in research and Extension activities related to preventing foodborne illness associated[Read More…]

Note that the Wabash River is visible through the break in the trees.

​With the record-setting rainfall we’ve seen over the past month, flooding of fields is very widespread (Figure 1). Fields that have experienced flooding present growers with difficult management choices. Flooding is defined (per FDA) as the “flowing or overflowing of a field with water outside a grower’s control.” Flooding is associated with streams, creeks, or ponds that overflow their banks and cannot be controlled. The FDA considers food contacted by flood water to be “adulterated” and not fit for human consumption. Due to microbial and other concerns, produce cannot be harvested and sold into the public food supply once it contacts flood water. Frequently, only a portion of a field is affected by flooding. If only part of a field is affected and flood water contacts the edible portion of the crop, growers should manage the contaminated crop so that it does not affect uncontaminated crops. To protect uncontaminated crops,[Read More…]

​”Planning for Success: Food Safety Plan Writing” began Thursday June 4 and will continue on June 18 and July 1. The program is offered via WebEx, or by phone for audio only. Each program includes a presentation followed by time for discussion and questions and answers. “The programs are designed so that growers can participate over a lunch hour and get answers to current questions they may have as they work through the plan writing process,” says Scott Monroe, Purdue Extension food safety educator and organizer of the series. The series schedule (all times noon to 1 p.m. EDT): June 4: “Written Food Safety Plan Basics.” June 9: “Policies, Procedures and Documentation.” June 18: “Food Safety Protocols – What’s Out There.” July 1: “Using Templates and Other Resources.”   To join the program, go to http://bit.ly/FSPlanWriting. To participate by audio only, call 888-854-1541.

​Purdue University and the Illiana Watermelon Association (IWA) are offering food safety audit cost-share programs to Indiana fruit and vegetable growers this year. Funds for the programs come from a grant from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture through the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Through the Purdue program, Indiana fruit or vegetable growers who receive passing scores on their third party food safety audits are eligible for reimbursement of 40% of their audit cost, up to a maximum of $400 per farm. Through the Illiana Watermelon Association program IWA members may receive reimbursement for 75% of an audit cost (up to  $1,500) if a preferred audit-provider is used, or 60% (up to $1,200) if a non-preferred provider is used. Producers of any fruit or vegetable wishing to take advantage of the IWA program may join the IWA. To apply for cost-sharing, complete and return the appropriate application by[Read More…]

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