Monday, January 4, 2010

Fresh Produce Safety Training Being Offered in Western NC

Farmers have some pretty strong opinions about the new upcoming food safety regulations and GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) concerning fresh produce.  Whether you are for or against them, you need to know about them!  Here is an opportunity to learn about them, and receive a certificate, in a friendly, non-threatening environment.  Note: this is not official GAPS certification!


Madison Co. Cooperative Extension & Madison Family Farms



Hosts Fresh Produce Safety Training for Growers

Marshall, N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family is a new N.C. Cooperative Extension program developed to educate fruit and vegetable growers about measures to minimize food safety risks. The training focuses on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and what it takes to obtain GAPs certification.

Anyone involved in handling fresh produce, from farmers and field hands to packing house employees and truckers will benefit from the training by learning to identify and prevent contact between sources of contamination and fresh produce. Attending these training sessions will help growers understand the pending compliance regulations for fresh produce safety legislation.

Upon completion of seven-hours of this training, attendees will receive a Certificate of Attendance and their name will be posted on the N.C. MarketReady website, allowing end markets to find growers that have completed the training.

Please note that this Certificate of Attendance is NOT an official GAPs certification!

GAPs Certification requires establishing a food safety plan and passing a third-party audit that assesses the strength of the food safety plan and ensures that it is properly implemented. Currently, GAPs certification is voluntary for North Carolina farmers, though outbreaks of food-borne illness in other parts of the country have resulted in increased pressure for all farmers to become certified.

Attendance at all three sessions will be required to obtain the Certificate of Attendance.

Session Offerings

Session One (two choices-two locations)

1-A: Marshall, Thursday, Jan. 14 10:00 am till 12:00 noon, and 2:00pm till 4:00 pm. No Fee.

Madison County Cooperative Extension and Madison Family Farms will co-host a two-part program at the Madison County Cooperative Extension Ag. Center at 258 Carolina Lane, Marshall NC. Lunch will be provided at noon for those who register in advance by Madison Family Farms and prepared from locally grown products. Please call 828-649-2411 no later than Tuesday, Jan. 12 to make the lunch reservation. There will be a $5 charge to cover expenses. Sponsorship Funding for this educational program is provided by: The NC Tobacco Trust Fund.

The morning Session will cover On-Farm GAPs, and the afternoon Session will cover procedures and GAPs for packing and handling activities in the Ag. Center facility. Those who register and attend this session will be given credit for two hours and the equivalent of Session 1 of the total required for the Certificate of Attendance.

1-B: Mills River, Monday, Jan. 11 /9:00 am -11:30 am. Fee: $5

Location: Mountain Horticulture Research and Extension Center located at 455 Research Dr. in Mills River, NC. All sessions at this location are hosted by: Susan Colucci, Area Specialized Agriculture Agent, 828.697.4891, sue_colucci@ncsu.edu

Session 2: Monday, Jan. 25/9:00 am -11:30 am. Fee: $5

Location: Mountain Horticulture Research and Extension Center located at 455 Research Dr. in Mills River, NC. All sessions at this location are hosted by: Susan Colucci, Area Specialized Agriculture Agent, 828.697.4891, sue_colucci@ncsu.edu

Session 3: Monday, February 8 /9:00 am -11:30 am. Fee: $5

Location: Mountain Horticulture Research and Extension Center located at 455 Research Dr. in Mills River, NC. All sessions at this location are hosted by: Susan Colucci, Area Specialized Agriculture Agent, 828.697.4891, sue_colucci@ncsu.edu

This training will address GAPs that are directly related to field production and harvest. The training will include an introduction to common food-borne pathogens and diseases as well as recognizing points of potential contamination, proper use of biosolids as a nutrient source, effective hand-washing procedures, packing facility cleanliness and verifying water quality for field application and postharvest handling.

The development of the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family curriculum was funded with grants from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and USDA Risk Management Agency. N.C. Cooperative Extension faculty developed the curriculum as part of the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force. Learn more at http://www.ncmarketready.org/.

Some pre-class homework
To help you prepare for this training, please answer the following questions as a self-inquiry about your own operations. Keep this and bring it with you to the GAPs training sessions. Thank You!

1. A documented food safety program that incorporates GAP .

I have a food safety and security program which incorporates GAP and has been accepted and adopted by this farming operation. Yes_____ No_____15 Points

2. The operation has designated someone to implement and oversee an established food safety program. I have a designated coordinator for implementation and oversight of the food safety and security program. Yes_____ No______15 points

3. Drinkable water is available to all workers. I have well test documentation for all wells indicating the water is drinkable. Yes_____ No_____10 points

4. Training on proper sanitation and hygiene practices is provided to all workers. I have documentation indicating training on sanitation and hygiene practices

Yes_____ No_____15 points

5. Readily understandable signs are posted to instruct workers to wash their hands before beginning or returning to work. I have signs instructing workers to wash their hands before beginning or returning to work in all bathrooms.

Yes_____ No_____10 points

6. Workers are required to wash their hands before beginning or returning to work. I have adequate toilet and lavatory facilities. Yes_____ No_____10 points

7. All workers and all visitors to the location are required to follow proper sanitation and hygiene practices. I have signs posted stating that employees and all visitors are required to follow proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Yes_____ No_____10 points.

8. Workers and visitors are following good hygiene/sanitation practices. Are workers and visitors actually following good hygiene/sanitation practices? Yes_____ No_____15 points

9. All toilet/restroom facilities are clean and properly supplied with single use towels, toilet paper, and hand soap or anti-bacterial soap and potable water for hand washing.

The facility is in good repair, sanitary, proper signage and water. Yes_____ No_____15 points

10. All toilet/restroom field sanitation facilities are serviced and cleaned on a scheduled basis.

This is being done. Yes_____ No_____10 points

11. Smoking and eating are confined to designated areas separate from where product is handled. I have a written policy that states no eating or chewing food, no chewing gum, no using tobacco, and no drinking beverages can be done in the areas where produce is handled.

Yes_____ No_____10 points

12. Workers with diarrheal disease or symptoms of other infectious disease are prohibited from handling fresh produce. I have a written policy that excludes workers from operations if, by observation, have diarrhea, an illness or open lesion (boil, sore, infected wound) from coming in contact with produce. The policy also states that personnel will report such health conditions to their supervisors. Yes_____ No_____ 15 points

13. There is a policy describing procedures which specify handling/disposition of produce or food contact surfaces that have come into contact with blood or other body fluids. I have a written policy that describes procedures which specify handling/disposition of produce or food contact surfaces that have come into contact with blood or other body fluids.

Yes_____ No_____15 points

14. Workers are instructed to seek prompt treatment with clean first aid supplies for cuts, abrasions and other injuries. I have a written policy that describes procedures which specify if workers are injured on the job, they must seek first aid help. The policy also states that personnel will report such health conditions to their supervisors. Yes_____ No_____5 points

15. Workers demonstrate knowledge of proper use of pre-harvest and/or post harvest application materials. All applicable Local, State and Federal training and licensing requirements are met by persons applying regulated materials. Pesticides, growth regulators and fertilizers are applied by licensed operators and are compliant under WPS.

Yes_____ No_____10 points

Your totals for General Questions 1-15_______

Total possible 180

Minus N/A _____

Subtotal _____

Subtotal 80% _____ THIS IS A DESIRABLE SCORE

N.C. Cooperative Extension is an educational outreach of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. It has programs in all 100 counties and the Cherokee Reservation. Learn more at www.ces.ncsu.edu.

3 comments:

  1. This is a great post. I’m glad it was bumped. Otherwise I would’ve missed these very useful information.

    Regards.
    http://www.talon-direct.com

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  2. Food hygiene training is really important to ensure proper cleanliness in a premise like restaurants and for the safety not only for food handlers but also for their customers as well. Instructing employees like teaching them how to use sanitary gloves while handling certain food products is a big help for a company's reputation.

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