Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blackberry & Raspberry Food Safety Crisis Simulation


Photo by Tony Italia
I am publishing this notice I just received from Dr. Gina Fernandez in hopes of getting the word out to the farmers I work with who grow blackberries and raspberries.  Please call ahead to make sure there is room if you want to attend the November 16th meeting.

Hello Blackberry and Raspberry Growers (and others associated with these crops),

Two weeks ago I attended a Managing a Food Safety Outbreak workshop put on by a group of people at NCSU that call themselves the Fresh Produce Safety Task Force (FPSTF). The FPSTF asked me if the blackberry and raspberry growers would like to have this workshop put on for them. I said YES!

The workshop is an interactive program that will take you through a food safety outbreak involving raspberries or blackberries. They simulate how all the different agencies (CDC, FDA, CNN, etc) interject themselves into the incident and how quickly such a crisis evolves. I was very impressed. Bottom line is that we need to be prepared for a crisis, it may not be food borne, but something will happen and we need to have a plan in place.

I would like to have a meeting with a group of blackberry and raspberry growers Nov. 16, 10 am, Training Room in the Murdock Building, Kannapolis. We have the Training Room reserved from 9-1. (Presenters you can arrive early to set up, there is internet access there).

The room can fit up to 30 people, so if there is someone I have forgotten or left off this list, please let them know of this meeting. Also let me know if you plan to be there so we know how many people to expect.

Debbie Hamrick, from Farm Bureau will also be there and will update us on Food Safety legislation that is proceeding through Congress at this time.

The workshop would last about 2.5 hrs. So if we start at 10, that would give everyone time to travel to Kannapolis and get back home that same day.

FYI, they will present the same workshop at the Strawberry Expo Nov. 10 in the morning. You can attend this meeting for this day only if the date in Kannapolis does not work for you. See for more information on that meeting go to: http://www.ncstrawberry.org/

Gina E. Fernandez, PhD, Associate Professor/Small Fruit Specialist/Raspberry and Blackberry Breeding, North Carolina State University.  Phone: 919.513.7416.  Email: Gina_Fernandez@ncsu.edu

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