Scott Monroe

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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…]


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Please join us for the grand opening of the Purdue Extension Food Safety Training Hub, located in the newly constructed Vincennes University Agricultural Center. Located on Highway 41 adjacent to SWPAC, the new facility features lab and office space, a large postharvest research area, classroom and audio-visual room for use in food safety programming. The event will be held on November 4 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and will include guided tours, as well as remarks from individuals involved in the project. Light refreshments will be served. Those attending are asked to RSVP at http://bit.ly/FoodSafetyGrandOpening by October 21.


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Please join us for the grand opening of the Purdue Extension Food Safety Training Hub, located in the newly constructed Vincennes University Agricultural Center. Located on Highway 41 adjacent to SWPAC, the new facility features lab and office space, a large postharvest research area, classroom and audio-visual room for use in food safety programming. The event will be held on November 4 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and will include guided tours, as well as remarks from individuals involved in the project. Light refreshments will be served. Those attending are asked to RSVP at http://bit.ly/FoodSafetyGrandOpening by October 21.


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…]


On Friday, April 12, the FDA and CDC announced an outbreak of Salmonella Carrau in pre-cut melon products distributed by Indianapolis-based Caito Foods. While an Indiana company has been implicated in the outbreak, the melon product used to create the pre-cut products were not from Indiana and were likely imported from outside of the United States. Indiana growers are currently preparing to plant Indiana’s 2019 cantaloupe and watermelon crops in Southwestern Indiana and other parts of the state. Growers are anticipating a safe, bountiful harvest. Indiana melon growers take food safety very seriously and implement many on-farm practices aimed at reducing the risk of a foodborne pathogen contaminating the crop. “Indiana growers use a variety of practices that reduce the risk of contamination at the farm level. Among these are testing of irrigation water, use of sanitizers in wash water, and employee training programs”, said Scott Monroe, Food Safety Educator[Read More…]


Inspections of produce farms for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (PSR) are set to begin in July 2019. Passage of SB 331 in the Indiana General Assembly in 2018 gave the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) PSR enforcement authority in Indiana, making them the lead agency for inspections. SB 331 established no additional requirements beyond those of the federal rule. The rollout of the inspection program will be staggered, to reflect the staggered compliance dates found in the PSR. During 2019, ISDH will be conducting inspections only on farms that have produce sales exceeding $25,000 and total food sales exceeding $500,000. As inspections are rolled out, here are some things to remember: Prior to an inspection, growers will be contacted by ISDH by mail and by telephone. There will be no unannounced inspections. The inspectors will be as flexible as possible when setting up[Read More…]


Purdue Extension will be hosting a three-day PrimusGFS v3.0 Training at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center on December 5, 6, and 7. This training will provide basic information for those who anticipate using the PrimusGFS v3.0 system or will be transitioning from previous versions. Each day will cover a specific portion of the new version 3.0 system. Day 1 will cover Food Safety Management Systems. Day 2 will cover GAPs. Day 3 will cover GMPs and HACCP.  To register, go to www.SafeProduceIN.com and click on the “Training” option. For additional information, contact Scott Monroe at (812) 886-0198 or (765) 427-9910.


Purdue Extension will be hosting a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training on September 28th. The training will be held in the basement of the SWPAP building at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center, 4369 N. Purdue Rd., Vincennes, IN 47591. This program meets the training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Cost is $100 and covers course manual, completion certificate, and lunch. Register by going to www.SafeProduceIN.com and clicking on the “Get Trained” option. Participants must pre-register. Registration will be closed on 9/26/18. For more information, contact Scott Monroe at (812) 886-0198.