EAST LANSING, Mich. — Many fresh produce growers have heard of the new Food Safety Modernization Act(FSMA) but they may be unsure how it applies to them. Growers who have already attended a Produce Safety Alliance Produce training now have an overview of what the Produce Safety Rule is about, but many are wondering how to apply what they learned to their specific farming operation.
In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of FSMA, Cooperative Extension and State Departments of Agriculture have teamed up with Conservation Districts to develop an On-Farm Readiness Review. This review will allow a fresh produce grower and a team of trained professionals the opportunity to walk through their operation, step by step, to see what things they’re doing right and what they need to improve and problem solve. This walk-through will help growers gauge how ready they are for an inspection and give them ideas about how to make inexpensive changes, if necessary, to meet the new food safety requirements. This is a voluntary and confidential service, so what happens on the farm, stays on the farm. Best of all, it is free to growers.
A key starting point to doing the On-Farm Readiness Review is attending the Produce Safety Alliance Produce training. This is a one-day course offered by Michigan State University Extension in the fall, winter and early spring around the state. This grower training course course introduces the key concepts about food safety the FSMA Produce Safety Rule regulates. After attending this course, you will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials.
Once the training is complete, register for an On-Farm Readiness Review. For questions about the On-Farm Readiness Review program, contact Heather Borden, produce safety logistics coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Phillip Tocco and Heather Borden, Michigan State University Extension
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