MANHATTAN, Kan. — K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Department of Agriculture have set dates for three upcoming workshops focused on food safety training for fresh produce growers.
The training is designed to familiarize commercial fruit, vegetable and herb growers with compliance parameters under the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in 2011.
The workshops are Nov. 8 in Parsons, Kansas; Nov. 15 in Wichita, Kansas; and Jan. 9 (in conjunction with the Great Plains Growers Conference) in St. Joseph, Missouri.
From farm field to packing facility to families’ tables, the efforts are all part of a focus on keeping fresh produce safe for people to consume.
“Having good on-farm food safety practices in place is like having a good insurance policy for your farm. Good practices can prevent problems from happening,” said Adam Inman, KDA food safety and lodging assistant program manager.
KDA and K-State Research and Extension also offer “On-Farm Readiness Reviews” where specialists visit farms and help identify the best ways to ensure food safety and comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.
“It put my mind at ease about what KDA is looking for,” said Gabe Spurgeon of South Baldwin Farm when speaking of a recent review on his 35-acre farm near Baldwin City, Kansas. He primarily grows apples, peaches and blackberries and sells wholesale to supermarkets in Lawrence, plus Whole Foods Market in the Kansas City area. The Lawrence Farmers Market and a store on the farm are other outlets for his crops.
Spurgeon said as part of the review, KDA and K-State specialists walked the property with him, asking questions and making observations in an informal, stress-free way. “It’s good to have them come to match expectations with the reality of what they’ll (KDA) be looking for.”
In addition to trainings, KDA and K-State Research and Extension encourage fruit, vegetable and herb growers to register with the voluntary Kansas Produce Growers Inventory which will allow KDA to keep growers informed of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.
— Mary Lou Peter, K-State Research and Extension
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