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Updates on LFSC Needs Assessment

With the conclusion of the July 13 listening session in Salinas, CA, the LFSC Needs Assessment has been completed. We would like to thank everyone who participated in both the survey and listening sessions. Our good friends at Cornell University are working hard to analyze the findings from the assessment into a final report.

The final report will be discussed with the LFSC Steering Committee who will use the findings to determine how to better provide education and outreach to local food producers. Look for an announcement about the final report soon!
New FDA Fact Sheets on BSAAOs and Water Testing  
Soil Amendment Fact Sheet.

The BSAAO fact sheet answers common questions producers may have about using treated and untreated biological soil amendments, and explains the parts of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) that currently cover their use. 

Currently, the PSR does not prohibit farms from using BSAAOs and there is no application interval (minimum time required between application and harvest) expressed in the rule. The FDA does not expect to issue guidance on application intervals until a risk assessment has been completed, which is expected to take 5-10 years. 

For additional information on soil amendments, including best practices, visit Cornell's National  Good Agricultural Practices Program website

Water Test Fact Sheet
The FDA also updated it's list of equivalent agricultural water testing methods acceptable under the PSR. This new list includes  newly-approved presence absence tests. These tests are more widely available in laboratories and are typically cheaper than the previous tests approved by the FDA. 

Keep an eye on the LFSC blog in the upcoming weeks for a post on what these new tests mean for farmers.  

Organic producers looking for help with FSMA's Produce Safety Rule may want to check out the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service's (MOSES) new step-by-step overview.

The two-page fact sheet contains easy-to-follow explanations about the different facets of the PSR. It also breaks down the labeling, training, record keeping and water testing requirements of the rule. 

The FDA posted a new video
on YouTube titled "Produce Safety Inspections for Regulators Virtual Produce Tour" which gives viewers a better idea of what a Produce Safety Rule farm inspection may look like. 

The 38-minute video outlines the different parts of the PSR and what inspectors may request or look at should a farm be subject to an inspection.

Request a Training Near You
Would you like to have a PSA Training or Food Safety Field Day near you?  

Do you need  any FSMA, food safety or other supporting materials? 

Please complete the form below to make your request! 

In June, Michelle Danyluk, a professor of food microbiology and safety at the University of Florida, hosted a food safety roundtable discussion titled "After a Flood" at the  United Fresh Produce Association's 2018 conference. Danyluk started with a simple and important question - "What type of flood do you have?" Understanding the differences between excessive pooling of water from an irrigation line or heavy downpour versus flooding from surface water runoff makes a big difference when evaluating flood risk.

The first step is sorting out where the water came from. If it's from a broken irrigation line, or one left on too long (I'm guilty of this one), under normal circumstances your crop should still be safe to harvest - although the quality of crop may be damaged.  Farmers should complete a  risk assessment  to determine if it is safe to continue to work and harvest that field. An example of a risk assessment may include scouting the fields for manure that may have washed over the rows.

Another event that can create a lot of problems, but not necessarily a food safety risk, is rainwater pooling.  If it's just rainwater, conduct a risk assessment to determine if the produce is safe to harvest, sell, and/or consume. If there is any doubt about the safety of the produce, be sure to dispose of it.

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coorinator

On July 12, 2018, the FDA announced that it is expanding the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program for the upcoming fiscal year, bringing the total number of states receiving funding to 46, plus one territory. Added states and territory include: American Samoa, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

Also known as State CAP, the program started in 2016 with $21.8 million in funding provided to 42 participating states. The main goal of funding is to assist states with resources to provide education, outreach, and technical assistance to farmers covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Additionally, states will use funding to begin implementation and enforcement of the Produce Safety Rule. FDA is committed to educating before and while regulating and this funding to states and territories is part of their commitment to ensuring the resources are there for proper education and outreach prior to implementation and enforcement. This recent expansion increases funding to $32.5 million for states to provide a variety of assistance to farms.

Funding will be used by the states to recruit and train state employees on FSMA and the Produce Safety Rule, provide subsidized training to farmers, develop educational materials, and conduct On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR). OFRRs are a voluntary program developed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) to allow farmers to learn about the Produce Safety Rule and determine their level of preparedness for the requirements. An OFRR will be performed by both a state regulatory official and someone from Extension in most cases. They will walk through a farmer's operation providing feedback that is entirely confidential. No notes from an OFRR will leave that farm. OFRRs are a great way for farmers to assess their readiness for FSMA compliance.

By Chelsea Matzen, FSMA Project Director 

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to drive across Georgia with Cara Faver from the  National Young Farmers Coalition . Cara and I discussed a lot on our trip, including veggies, goats, cows, and market sales.  The main topic of conversation on our trip, however, was food safety.

With FSMA inspections getting closer, combined with the recent E. coli outbreaks, both buyers and the general public are more interested in how growers are practicing food safety on their operations. It's a pretty safe bet that when you ask a vegetable grower what's on their mind, food safety almost always comes up.

We visited a wide array of farms on our trip, including small urban farms in Atlanta like  Freewheel Farm , suburban neighborhood farms like  Bamboo Creek , and "radically traditional" farms like  White Oak Pastures  in Bluffton. We even took a ferry to visit the folks that feed the staff and guests of  Greyfield Inn  on Cumberland Island. At each farm we found great humans, beautiful produce, and folks ready and willing to share their experiences with, and learn more about, food safety.

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator

If you're a veggie farmer, you know it's coming. Whether you're the proactive type or the bury-your-head-in-the-sand type, the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule is likely to affect you in the near future. The good news is, it's not going to be that scary. And there are lots of farmers working hard to translate the regulation into workable strategies that will make their farms more efficient and profitable.  When it comes to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, farms fall into three categories: not covered, covered, and qualified exempt. Here's a quick-and-dirty rundown on what each one means:

Not Covered
Farms not covered by the Rule have no legal obligation to do anything for FSMA.

Farms that are covered by the rule must have one person on staff who has successfully completed a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course or equivalent training. Growers who have completed the seven-hour PSA Grower Training Course are eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO). This certificate does not expire, and belongs to the individual, not the farm. If that employee should leave the farm, another person from the farm would have to attend the training and receive a certificate.

Qualified exempt
Farms that are qualified exempt must keep sales records documenting that they do not reach the minimum sales requirement for covered produce. Qualified exempt farms must also notify consumers of the complete business address of the farm where the produce is grown, harvested, packed, and held.

To figure out which category your farm falls into, check this handy flowchart.

By Bailey Webster, MOSES 

Atlantic, Iowa
Produce Safety Field Day: 9/7

Washington, D.C.
FSMA Presentation at  NFU's Beginning Farmer Institute: 9/10

Chevy Chase, Maryland
FSMA Presentation at NCAT Armed to Urban Farm: 9/14

Iowa City, Iowa
Produce Safety Field Day: 9/17

Austin, Texas
PSA Grower Training: 9/24

National City, California
PSA Grower Training: 10/6

Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Farmers Market Conference: 11/1 - 11/2 
Spokane, Washington
Farm and Food Expo: 11/2 - 11/3
FSMA Presentation 

Memphis, Arkansas
PSA Grower Training: 11/7

White River Junction, Vermont
PSA Grower Training: 11/9

Durham, North Carolina
CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference: 11/9 - 11/11 

Atlanta, Georgia
Southern Region Integrated Produce Safety Conference: 11/13 - 11/14

Louisville, Kentucky
Acres USA Conference and Trade Show

Little Rock, Arkansas
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference: 1/23 - 1/26

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Conference: 2/6 - 2/7

More Information  Coming Soon 

Gary, Indiana
FSMA Workshop: 10/19

Kokomo, Indiana
FSMA Workshop: 10/29 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
PSA Grower Training: 11/15 

Be sure to check our website for the latest on upcoming events!

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