Small Farms Workshop – Produce Safety Rule

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What do small and medium scale produce farms need to know about the Produce Safety Rule?

You may have heard about a new food safety law and you may have heard that small farms are exempt from this law…come learn the facts!

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA developed “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”. These standards are commonly referred to as the Produce Safety Rule. The goal for this Rule is to minimize the risks for consumers of eating raw fruit and vegetables that could be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms that cause food-borne illness. The Produce Safety Rule targets produce (fruits and vegetables) that are usually eaten raw.

Many farmers are not sure how this rule will affect them and have been asking for guidance. The Cabarrus County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a FSMA for Small Farms Workshop on Thursday, November 29, 2018, from 3–5 p.m. at the Cabarrus County Agriculture & Conference Center in Concord, 715 Cabarrus Avenue West, Concord, NC 28027.

The intent of this workshop is to help you understand where your farm may fall under this regulation and learn about food safety practices that are relevant to small, diversified farms in NC. Farm inspections are expected to start in the spring of 2019 and even though most small- and medium-scale farms may be not covered or qualified exempt from some of the stipulations of the Rule, all produce growers have the responsibility to grow, pack and hold produce following safe practices. Come learn with us!

The FSMA for Small Farms Workshop will cover six Food Safety Practices essential for maintaining fresh produce safety on farms of any scale. It will also help participants walk-through an “Exempt or Not? Navigating the Qualifications” exercise to determine how FSMA’s Fresh Produce Safety Rule will govern each participant’s own operation. Workshop leaders will also educate participants in how FSMA will affect any CSAs & Food Hubs that growers may be part of, and focus on the confluence of required practices under FSMA as a preparation & requirement for potential GAP audits & certifications.

The workshop will be taught by our NC State Extension Area Specialized Agent for Food Safety, Elena Rogers (see bio below).

This workshop is free and open to all current and potential farmers of vegetables and fruits at any scale. Pre-registration is required and the deadline to register is November 27, 2018.

If you have any questions contact Lauren Hill, County Agriculture Agent at 704-920-3320 or email lhdunca3@ncsu.edu.

Speaker Bios:

Elena Rogers is an Area Specialized Agent with NC State Extension who provides educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to growers, Extension Agents and the produce industry in the Western half of North Carolina. Programmatic efforts include assistance with FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule implementation, food safety certifications and working with the supply chain.