N.C. MarketReady Releases Fresh Produce Safety Training Curriculum

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is helping fruit and vegetable farmers across the state minimize fresh produce safety risks through a comprehensive set of educational tools. The N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family training curriculum is being distributed to Extension agents throughout the state. The training manual focuses on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), including what it takes to obtain GAPs certification, and managing risks from field to market. Extension agents, who received training on using the curriculum earlier this year, will use it to train growers.

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“This is an opportune time to educate growers so that they may be equipped with the knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices in advance of impending food safety regulations,” says Diane Ducharme, GAPs program coordinator and Extension associate in horticulture and food safety with N.C. MarketReady. “Implementing the practices outlined in the training curriculum will allow North Carolina growers to compete in the evolving agricultural market.”

The curriculum is divided into two training tiers. Tier 1 will address GAPs that are directly related to field production and harvest. The training will include an introduction to common foodborne 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.

Tier 2 will address risk identification and management issues, including transportation and traceability, product recalls, liability and insurance options, and crisis communications.

For more information, go to www.ncmarketready.org or www.ces.ncsu.edu.

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Thanks for keeping North Carolina out front in food safety and information through Extension.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is great,maybe if we can be proactive on fresh produce safety on the State level we can avoid more Federal regulations, Yuck, that word is like fingernails on the blackboard. Federal Regulations are regulating American made products out of the world market and even the American market. Because the same regulations are not applied to produce or products from our competitors from other countries.And yet the Federal Government permits those non regulated items to be shipped into this country to compete with products produced under the added expense of these regulations that we must comply with, we cannot compete. That’s where the American Jobs have gone !$?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In a recent Gap inspection we were scored because the loads of apples coming out of the orchard to the packing area were not covered with a tarp. The inspector commented “What if a bird should land on one of those apples while on the truck?” Is she aware that the apples have been exposed to the birds for the last 4 months? Also, all U-Pickers must wash their hands before picking apples. Try enforcing that with a couple thousand people out to enjoy the raw natural countryside.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Confirmation of above statement.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

We feel your pain Jim…my husband is a tomato farmer in FL and the FDA,etc have gone crazy. The inspector does not want any birds flying over 500 +/- acres of tomatoes. Said if we put a net over it might help, my husband pointed out if the birds just sat on the nets, the mess would be more concentrated..duh! Vern is right, we just can’t continue to compete with foreign countries. When and how can we get back to farming with less government and have people be responsible for washing their own fruit?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It looks like the federal govt is getting heavily involved in this as well. It also is looking like the GAP certification is going to be across the board for ALL farmers. Considering the amount of washing, testing, and paperwork to be done, then it may very well spell the end to the small and micro farmers. I for one cannot afford to be washing all my bins with disinfectant and then testing them and my water all the time. Any person with two brain cells knows you wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before and after you eat. I am wondering who pays the people in all these organizations that are working on all this food safety requirements? Is the paycheck from a “private company” or some organization formed and paid by govt grants or directly working for the govt under a state or federal agency? The only farms left will be large corporate farms that can afford it.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Thanks for keeping North Carolina out front in food safety and information through Extension.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is great,maybe if we can be proactive on fresh produce safety on the State level we can avoid more Federal regulations, Yuck, that word is like fingernails on the blackboard. Federal Regulations are regulating American made products out of the world market and even the American market. Because the same regulations are not applied to produce or products from our competitors from other countries.And yet the Federal Government permits those non regulated items to be shipped into this country to compete with products produced under the added expense of these regulations that we must comply with, we cannot compete. That’s where the American Jobs have gone !$?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

In a recent Gap inspection we were scored because the loads of apples coming out of the orchard to the packing area were not covered with a tarp. The inspector commented “What if a bird should land on one of those apples while on the truck?” Is she aware that the apples have been exposed to the birds for the last 4 months? Also, all U-Pickers must wash their hands before picking apples. Try enforcing that with a couple thousand people out to enjoy the raw natural countryside.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Confirmation of above statement.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

We feel your pain Jim…my husband is a tomato farmer in FL and the FDA,etc have gone crazy. The inspector does not want any birds flying over 500 +/- acres of tomatoes. Said if we put a net over it might help, my husband pointed out if the birds just sat on the nets, the mess would be more concentrated..duh! Vern is right, we just can’t continue to compete with foreign countries. When and how can we get back to farming with less government and have people be responsible for washing their own fruit?

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

It looks like the federal govt is getting heavily involved in this as well. It also is looking like the GAP certification is going to be across the board for ALL farmers. Considering the amount of washing, testing, and paperwork to be done, then it may very well spell the end to the small and micro farmers. I for one cannot afford to be washing all my bins with disinfectant and then testing them and my water all the time. Any person with two brain cells knows you wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before and after you eat. I am wondering who pays the people in all these organizations that are working on all this food safety requirements? Is the paycheck from a “private company” or some organization formed and paid by govt grants or directly working for the govt under a state or federal agency? The only farms left will be large corporate farms that can afford it.