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LFSC Updates
John Lewis, site manager, installing drip tape for leafy green seedlings.
The LFSC Steering Committee will conduct its yearly in-person meeting this November. The meeting will focus on the results of the Needs Assessment and how the project will provide education and outreach to local food producers in the upcoming year. 

The Deep South Food Alliance has also made significant progress on the Grower Liaison Model demonstration sites in the southeast. Four farms have been selected and are currently being updated so that they can hold food safety workshops and training events.  Keep an eye on LFSC's Upcoming Events page for more information.
FDA Releases Draft Guidance on Produce Safety Rule

A draft version of the FDA's  guidance for industry on FSMA's Produce Safety Rule has been published to their website. The document provides recommendations on meeting the requirements of the different parts of the Produce Safety Rule as well as how the FDA currently interprets the rule.  

Growers who have questions or comments about the draft guidance are encouraged to let LFSC know via our online form. Comments and questions that are collected will be shared with the FDA in an effort to better serve local growers.   
FDA Releases Additional Guidance on Qualified Facilities

The FDA recently released a guidance document to help food processing facilities determine if they are considered "qualified" under FSMA's Preventive Controls Rule.

Under the rule, qualified facilities are exempt from certain portions of the regulations. Small-scale processors may find it valuable to determine their status; they may be able to avoid spending unnecessary time and resources complying with certain portions of the rule.

Another good resource for determining if you are a qualified facility is this blog post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. 
Resources for Farmers Affected by Recent Hurricanes 
Both Hurricane Michael and Florence  have lead to significant rainfall for the Southern parts of the country. Farmers who have had their fields flood and are unsure if their crop can be harvested may want to look at some the resources on the FDA's website or read our  blog post from July,  Flooding and Food Safety: What to Do When Fields Flood

Regardless of a farm's size or scale, food safety is a priority on every operation. All farmers have an obligation to provide the safest product possible, and while many may think their current practices are sufficient in preventing foodborne illness, there is always new information or research to consider. The recent Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule (FSMA PSR), is an example of new minimum standards for produce safety based on the latest research-based best practices.

Not every farmer is covered by the FSMA PSR but buyer or market requirements can be different than regulatory requirements when it comes to food safety compliance requests. Growers are encouraged to be familiar with the PSR so they can provide feedback and comments to the FDA on the regulation. We also encourage growers to always be learning more about what can cause, and how to prevent a food safety risk on their farm.

By Jake Stukenberg, NFU Intern

Bacteria are microorganisms that can reproduce both inside and outside of a host and can multiply rapidly given the right conditions. Examples of common bacteria in produce include salmonella toxigenic E. coli shigella , and listeria monocytogenes . Illnesses caused by these bacteria can be severe or even deadly. Those with compromised immune systems, such as children or the elderly, are at an even higher risk for serious illness. That's why it is vital that growers understand how illness-causing bacteria grow and the best strategies for reducing their spread.

Many fruits and vegetables have folds or creases, such as lettuce, where if bacteria get on the produce, linger and multiply. E. coli  bacteria caused the recent romaine lettuce outbreak, and while it's still unclear how E. coli ended up on the lettuce , it is clear it was able to survive once there.  Using a Good Agricultural Practice, or a  GAP , like   adding a sanitizer to your wash water  can reduce the risk by killing off bacteria that get dislodged from the produce during wash and keeping bacteria from spreading to other produce in the water. Each sanitizer has different conditions at which it is most effective, so it is important when using a sanitizer to monitor and maintain those conditions.

Bacteria survive and grow when certain conditions are met. GAPs are designed to reduce those conditions and minimize the produce safety risk. Below is a breakdown of the conditions for bacterial growth and survival and some strategies for reducing growth:

By Jake Stukenberg, NFU Intern

Viruses are small particles of nucleic acid that require a host to reproduce and can often be spread through food. Viruses can be 10 to 100 times  smaller than bacteria  and are not visible under a normal microscope. Because they need a host to reproduce, viruses are usually spread by people handling food when they have not properly washed their hands or are ill, though water is also linked to the spread of viruses. Unfortunately, once a virus is present on produce it can remain stable in the environment; they won't be affected by many of the same conditions that affect bacteria.

Two common examples of viruses that can contaminate produce include Norovirus and Hepatitis A. Norovirus is one of the most common causes of food-related outbreaks in the United States. According to the   Center for Disease Control (CDC) , Norovirus causes "about 50% of all outbreaks of food-related illness...".  The most commonly affected foods that spread Norovirus are leafy greens such as lettuce, fresh fruits, and shellfish as they are often consumed raw. However, Norovirus is hardy and can   survive temperatures up to 140ºF .

Since only a few virus particles are needed to make someone ill (fewer than 100) , and they are easily spread through the environment or from person to person, the important thing with viruses is to prevent contamination in the first place.

By Jake Stukenberg, NFU Intern 

The sound of insects buzzing filled the air as nearly 20 participants - farmers, Iowa Farmers Union staff, and Iowa State University Extension personnel - crowded curiously around a high tunnel building bursting with the vibrant greens, yellows, and reds of a robust tomato crop. They had gathered for Iowa Farmers Union's FSMA Field Day, held this past July in Norwalk, Iowa, to help producers learn about food safety and the various aspects of FSMA's Produce Safety Rule.

Dave Rowen was the farmer who hosted the event. Like the other farmers present, Rowen spent the day learning how FSMA applies to his farm and discussing strategies for keeping deer that frequent his property away from his plants, therefore reducing the risk of them contaminating his produce.

One of the main goals of FSMA's Produce Safety Rule is mitigating the risk of contamination , which can occur when human pathogens make their way on to produce.  Field day  participants learned about common routes of contamination on-farm, including human and animal excrement, or poop. In fact, most food safety outbreaks occur when poop is tracked into a field or packhouse via humans, animals, or contaminated water.

By Laura Funk Kopecky, Iowa Farmers Union

Request a Training Near You
Interested in attending a PSA Training or Food Safety Field Day near you but don't see anything listed below?  

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

Want to have the Local Food Safety Collaborative speak or present at your conference this fall/winter? 

Please complete the form below to make your request! 
Valparaiso, Indiana
Farm Business Accelerator Day: 10/19
Building a Farm Food Safety Plan
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) Conference: 10/25 - 10/27

Cheyenne, Wyoming
PSA Grower Training: 10/26

Maui, Hawaii
Hawai'i Farmers Union United State Convention: 10/26 - 10/28
Food Safety and FSMA Panel 

Great Falls, Montana
Montana Farmers Union State Convention: 10/26 - 10/27
Food Safety Toolkit Discussion

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

Columbia City, Indiana
Indiana Farmers Union Convention: 11/3
FSMA Presentation 

Okolona, Mississippi
Vegetable Producers Workshop: 11/3

Bloomington, Illinois
Local-Regional Food Conference: 11/5
PSA Grower Training 

Memphis, Arkansas
Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop and PSA Grower Training: 11/7 - 11/8

White River Junction, Vermont
PSA Grower Training: 11/8

Bemidji, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 11/9

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

Spokane, Washington
Tilth Conference: 11/9 - 11/11 
FSMA and Food Safety Panel

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

Windom, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 11/14

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
PSA Grower Training: 11/15

Kansas City, Missouri
Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference: 11/15 - 11/17

PSA Grower Training: 11/28

Louisville, Kentucky
Acres USA Conference and Trade Show: 12/4 - 12/7

Hutchinson, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 12/5

Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 12/12

Saint Paul, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 12/17

Springfield, Illinois
Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
PSA Grower Training: 1/8

St. Cloud, Minnesota 
PSA Grower Training: 1/9

Mankato, Minnesota 
PSA Grower Training: 1/23

Cloquet, Minnesota 
PSA Grower Training: 1/25

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

Saint Charles, Minnesota 
PSA Grower Training: 2/6

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Conference: 2/6 - 2/7
PSA Grower Training and Food Safety Panel 

Andover, Minnesota 
PSA Grower Training: 2/20

Moorhead, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 3/13
More Information

Farmington, Minnesota
PSA Grower Training: 3/20

More Information  Coming Soon 

Colorado Springs, Colorado 
PSA Grower Training: 12/11

Abiquiu, New Mexico
PSA Grower Training: 12/12

Socorro, New Mexico
PSA Grower Training: 12/13

Grand Junction, Colorado
PSA Grower Training and Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop: 1/9 - 1/10

Greeley, Colorado
PSA Grower Training: 1/31

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

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