Amanda J Deering

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Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a temporary policy regarding eligibility for the qualified exemption under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The policy is designed to provide flexibility to growers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The policy and guidance may be found on FDA’s website at https://www.fda.gov/media/138316/download. Under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, growers may receive a qualified exemption if total food sales (defined as anything that may be used as food and drink for humans and animals) are less than $500,000 annually and more than half of all sales are to a qualified end user. A qualified end user may be (a) the consumer of the food or (b) a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or the same Indiana reservation as the farm or not more than 275 miles away. The COVID-19 public health emergency[Read More…]


As we continue to move toward harvest for many of our produce crops, numbers of workers will continue to increase on produce farms. Management of worker health has been, and continues to be, critical to insuring that farms have adequate labor. The following are a few resources available to growers as they continue to monitor and manage worker health: 1.  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Labor: Joint guidance for agriculture workers and employers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-agricultural-workers.html. 2. Indiana State Department of Health: Spanish and English versions of guidance documents are online at https://www.in.gov/isdh/23276.htm. a. Guidance for Migrant Farm Workers, Labor Camps Operators and their Employer b. Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (poster) c. Stop the Spread of Germs Like COVID-19 (poster) 3. Purdue Extension: Management of Farm Labor During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Publication FS-38-W) available from[Read More…]



Beginning this month, Purdue Extension will offer produce food safety trainings throughout Indiana. The trainings utilize the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) training curriculum and will be offered at multiple locations across the state. For produce farms that are covered under the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, at least one manager or responsible person is required to receive food safety training equivalent to FDA’s standardized curriculum. Completion of a PSA grower training is one way to meet that requirement. For growers who are not covered by the Produce Safety Rule, the trainings are an excellent introduction to produce food safety and will be useful to those who are beginning to develop a food safety program on their farm, or who want to learn more about this topic. There are currently 6 offerings across the state. Classes are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Cost is $100. This includes a[Read More…]


On June 5, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) mailed letters to produce growers having annual food sales over $500,000 informing them that inspections of produce farms would start in July.  Due to their sales volume, these growers are expected to be in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (21CFR § 112) as of the 2019 growing season.  The letters also outline the inspection process for 2019. As part of the inspection process, produce growers identified as having over $500,000 in food sales will be contacted sometime in June to schedule an inspection. The inspections will begin in July. Here are some things to keep in mind as ISDH rolls out their 2019 inspections: There will be no surprise inspections. Growers will be contacted prior to any inspector visiting the farm. The inspections will be conducted by ISDH. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will[Read More…]


Beginning in August, Purdue Extension will offer produce food safety trainings throughout Indiana. The trainings utilize the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) training curriculum and will be offered at multiple locations across the state. For produce farms that are covered under the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, at least one manager or responsible person is required to receive food safety training equivalent to FDA’s standardized curriculum. Completion of a PSA grower training is one way to meet that requirement. For growers who are not covered by the Produce Safety Rule, the trainings are an excellent introduction to produce food safety and will be useful to those who are beginning to develop a food safety program on their farm, or who want to learn more about this topic. There are currently 14 confirmed offerings across the state. Classes are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm local time. Cost is $100.[Read More…]


The On Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is now available and being offered to Indiana produce growers. The OFRR is a VOLUNTARY assessment of your farm’s readiness to be in compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. This is not an audit or inspection, but a chance for you to have a team of reviewers visit your farm to assess how well your food safety program lines up with the requirements set forth in the Produce Safety Rule. Once a review is requested, a team consisting of individuals from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), and Purdue Extension will visit your farm. The review takes approximately two hours. During that time, the team will ask questions and tour your farm in order to: Determine your coverage under the Produce Safety Rule Assess your farm’s current state of readiness for ISDH inspections, which will begin[Read More…]


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.