From the desk of
The Produce Safety Team
August 15th, 2021
Risks Posed by Animals On Produce Farms
Phil Tocco, Michigan State University Extension Educator
Chris Callahan, University of Vermont Extension Associate Professor
Many small farmers rely on cats to control rodents on farms. These “working animals” seem like a good way to limit crop loss and reduce other produce safety risks from rodents. Unfortunately, cats bring risks of their own. Cats are the only full cycle host of a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or ‘toxo’). The FSMA Produce Safety Rule generally requires “measures reasonably necessary to prevent the introduction of known or reasonably foreseeable hazards into covered produce” (112.11). The rule specifically requires an assessment of areas where covered activities take place for evidence of potential contamination, and evaluate whether covered produce can be harvested if there is a reasonable probability of contamination (112.83). This includes the observation of an animal in a production or handling area such as a greenhouse or packing shed.
Food-Safe Fungi: Produce Safety Resources for Mushroom Growers  
Landen Tetil
Michigan Produce Safety Technician
Many Mushroom growers often have a unique perspective on food safety compared to growers of other types of produce. For one, indoor fungiculture incorporates different production methods from many crops. It involves purchasing or reproducing spawn, inoculating, sterilizing, and maintaining optimal moisture and temperature levels - which often vary by variety. All of this occurs while also keeping careful watch over mold and bacterial growth that would harm the fungi being grown on purpose. It’s a delicate balance between good and bad fungal growth. 
Podcast Episode: Pests in the Wash Pack
Whether it's mice, rats, birds, or rabbits, many growers struggle with managing pests on the farm. In this episode, Phil Tocco, a Produce Safety Educator with MSU Extension, and Emily Hale, a Produce Safety Technician with the Blue Water Conservation District, give some advice on how to keep these pests under control.
Technical Support Available for Your Wash Pack Project This Fall
Check out these six Twilight Highlight Workshops below!
Our team of specialists from SCRUB (Sanitizing and Cleaning Resources for your Business) is available to help you overcome a post-harvest bottleneck, or improve your wash/pack!

Our team is offering a series of "Twilight Highlight Workshops” to help farmers as they plan and implement projects to address one of six specific wash/pack topics listed below.
Space is limited to 15 farms for each topic.

SCRUB Twilight Highlight Workshop Schedule

All virtual workshops are held live on Wednesday evenings, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, and will also be edited and posted for future viewing.

September 1 – Bin Blitz
September 8 – Low Cost and High Value
September 15 – Wash/Pack Floors
September 22 – Wash Water Management
September 29 – Tools for Employee Management and Empowerment
October 6 – Bubblers/Aerators for Greens Washing

To indicate your interest in participating, please complete this short form!
Free On-Farm Readiness Reviews Help Produce Growers with Produce Safety Planning
Our friendly On-Farm Readiness Review team members can help you achieve your On-farm produce safety goals!
Many growers of fresh produce want to know how ready they are with regards to being FSMA Produce Safety Rule compliant. In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of FSMA, MSU Extension and the Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team are providing FREE On-Farm Readiness Reviews to Michigan Produce Growers. 
Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety Team
1715 Lansing Ave, Jackson, MI 49202 | MSU Extension MACD Produce Safety Technicians
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