Amanda J Deering

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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…]


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Rhonda Taylor has recently joined the Department of Food Science, and the Extension food safety team, as Food Science Outreach Extension Specialist and Food Processing Manager. Rhonda obtained her B.S. in Science from the Purdue University School of Agriculture focusing on Ecology and Land Management, as well as an additional A.S. Degree in Applied Science in Biotechnology.  Prior to coming to Extension, she worked as a seed analyst for the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center and as a research technician working with soybeans and canola. Rhonda joined Purdue’s Food Science department in 2013 as a laboratory manager/research assistant in Food Safety with a research focus on food-borne pathogens, primarily in poultry and beef. In her new position, Rhonda will function as the point of contact for Food Science Extension programming. This includes working with the fresh produce industry, homebased vendors, and those interested in food processing validation studies. She[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.


In the past season, we tested performances of eight specialty melons grown under high tunnel, greenhouse, hydroponic, and conventional field systems. The melon varieties we have tested in our trials include Lilliput, Inspire, Sugar Cube, French Orange, Tasty Bites, Escorial, Savor, and Artemis. Many of these melon varieties are Charentais (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis). A specialty melon type with an outstanding fragrant smell. If you are wondering how to grow these specialty melons, please follow us at the Indiana Hort Congress. We will present what we have learned about growing these specialty melons under different production systems.


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…]