EAST LANSING, Mich. — Building a food safety culture requires repeated reminders about farm policies and procedures. When a grower or supervisor has to manage many farm workers that are working in different areas at the farm or facility, this can be very difficult. It is also a challenge to keep a record of these repeated reminders.
To help produce growers and supervisors overcome these challenges, Michigan State University Extension has created a produce safety texting service geared towards farm workers. Once weekly during normal business hours, subscribers will receive a text to remind them of a core concept related to on-farm produce safety. The texts are short, engaging and available in English and Spanish. This provides growers with a simple, effective way to reinforce important produce safety concepts without spending a lot of time or money on additional training.
Recordkeeping is an important aspect of worker training, and under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, produce growers are required to keep food safety training records. To support growers with record keeping, a free quarterly report can be emailed to supervisors who request them. To sign up for this record keeping feature, a grower or supervisor would only need to provide an email address where a farm code could be sent. After viewing each text, the recipient is prompted to enter their farm code and their name or initials. The record keeping report provides a record of the text messages that their farm workers received, and who opened them.
If a grower is concerned that their farm workers are not tech savvy enough for text messaging, they can request a printed set of texts to share with their workers. Printed sets are available in English and Spanish in limited quantities.
All of these resources are free of charge to Michigan farms. To sign up, supervisors and farm workers should text “Training” to (888) 531-2157. Para el servicio en Espanol, text “capacitar”.
If a grower has specific questions about the On-farm Produce Safety Texting Service or has difficulty tailoring GAPs to their farm, please contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 788-4292.
Funding for this article and the service was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed in the written materials do not necessarily reflect the official policies if the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.
— Michigan State University Extension