April 1, 2020
On behalf of the PSA team, we hope this message finds you in good health. We are extremely grateful to work with such a dedicated group of agricultural producers, processors, public health officials, educators, and industry members on a global scale who have been working tirelessly to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply continues to be available during this public health crisis. We would also like to thank our large network of collaborators and trainers for their thoughtful e-mails and concern for growers and food producers in their area. Every e-mail has highlighted the commitment of this network to assist stakeholders in the best way possible. As always, thank you for your collaboration with the Produce Safety Alliance and we hope that you all stay in good health. If you need a cheerful pick-me-up today and reminder of proper handwashing habits , our team lovingly refers to this video as the “bouncing bear” which is sure to brighten your day (or eternally get stuck in your head as you whistle along…). Also available in Spanish !
PSA Temporary Remote Training Policy Updates
The PSA has been asked to consider temporary remote training options in the context of WHO, federal, and other guidance about geographic restriction and social distancing strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. In response to these requests, the PSA has decided to temporarily amend its current policy for PSA Grower Training delivery to allow remote delivery of PSA Grower Trainings. It is imperative that courses be available to ensure growers can meet FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements outlined in § 112.22 (c), and that these courses are provided in a high-quality manner that does not increase public health risk.

This temporary PSA policy allowing remote delivery of PSA Grower Training Courses during the COVID-19 pandemic will be in effect until May 31, 2020, with the potential for extending this date pending updates on the pandemic.

*Note: Adjustments to the policy were made in light of questions and concerns that were discussed on the 3/23/20 webinar. Please review the updates released on 3/31/20 and the temporary remote training polic y . The webinar conducted in Spanish on 3/26/20 includes the updates.

The PSA team is available to answer any questions that you may have about this policy. In addition, the team can help you work through any remote delivery considerations and concerns you may have to make the course effective for all participants. If you need additional PSA Lead Trainers, contact the PSA team and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please contact the Extension Associate in your region or the PSA Director if you have any questions:

Dr. Connie Fisk will be hosting weekly office hours every Thursday through April 30, 2020 from 12-1 PM ET for those interested in learning Zoom tips and practicing use of the platform. Join the meeting: www.cornell.zoom.us/j/869017713
Coronavirus Resources for
Food Industry Members & Agricultural Producers
There are many resources available for coronavirus (COVID-19). Below are a few resources geared towards food industry members and agricultural producers which may be relevant to this particular listserv distribution.

COVID-19 is already changing the way we interact with and produce food. As we each look to control the spread and impact of COVID-19, there are many questions around the risks associated with food production and to employees to ensure that a safe and robust food supply is maintained for the public. Below you can find useful links to expert resources to help address your specific questions. IFS@CU will continue to provide updates to these resources as the situation changes and new information becomes available. Virtual office hours are also being hosted to help answer COVID-19 questions from the food industry. Check the website for updated dates and times.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
A number of resources are available from FDA to address concerns about COVID-19. It is important to note that FDA and CDC continue to emphasize that COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness, but resources continue to be updated to provide guidance to the food industry.


Best Practices for Small Farm Marketers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 3, 2020 | 8:30-9:30 am EDT

Join North Carolina State University educators, Lynette Johnston, Chip Simmons, Elena Rogers, and Chris Gunter as they discuss cleaning and sanitization for small direct farm marketers.

COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm Webinar
Steps that produce farm managers and individuals working with fruit and vegetable farms should consider to protect their workforce, their business, and their markets.
April 3, 2020 | 10-11:30 am EDT

This webinar will be led by Richard Stup, PhD, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, Elizabeth Bihn, PhD, Director of Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell, and Anu Rangarajan, PhD, Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program. The webinar will cover why prevention of the coronavirus/COVID-19 is important, steps that employers should take to protect employees, how to manage cleaning and disinfection in the workplace and employee housing, state and federal sick leave and workforce reduction policies, and disaster contingency planning to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on-farm. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the website . Attendance is limited to 500 individuals on a first come, first serve basis. 
PSA Lead Trainer Application Review Delays
Due to COVID-19 and its impacts to current PSA activities and review committee member availability, there is likely to be an extended delay for review of PSA Lead Trainer Applications currently in the queue. We request that all prospective PSA Lead Trainers have patience during this unprecedented time of public health concern. To limit e-mail traffic regarding PSA Lead Trainer Applications, we respectfully ask that you refrain from inquiring about the status of your PSA Lead Trainer Application until activities return to normal operating status. The PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee will continue to review applications, but there is likely to be an extended delay. As noted above, the PSA has temporarily approved remote deliveries of the PSA Grower Training. PSA encourages trainers to use the PSA Trainer Directory to connect with PSA Lead Trainers who may be willing to participate in remote PSA Grower Trainings in the interim.
Welcome Tommy Saunders
New PSA Southeast Regional Extension Associate!
The PSA is excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Tommy Saunders . Before joining the Produce Safety Alliance in March 2020, Tommy worked at Virginia Tech as a food safety extension associate for three years. As a team member of the Food Science and Technology department, Tommy focused on many areas of food safety. He assisted in the development of science-based content for instructional materials, extension publications, fact sheets, on-line training modules and other outputs to help educate extension agents, food producers, and consumers on key issues related to food safety. He was able to assist with training and technical assistance targeted toward fresh produce growers, farmers’ market managers and vendors, and value-added food producers across the state. A focus of Tommy’s time with Virginia Tech was helping Virginia growers meet requirements to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. As a PSA Trainer and Lead Trainer, Tommy was able to help host Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings all around the state of Virginia. He worked closely with extension agents and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Produce Safety Team to help Virginia work as a cohesive team as compliance dates approached for Virginia growers. Tommy also was the primary VT/VCE contact for growers wanting to participate in a NASDA’s On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR). He worked with a team of VDACS inspectors and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents to perform OFRRs for Virginia growers that fall under the Produce Safety Rule and how to apply regulation requirements to their everyday practices. Tommy received both his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech. Tommy’s research and extension experience will be a valuable addition to the PSA team. 

Tommy is based in Richmond, Virginia and can be reached at tps86@cornell.edu or by phone (607) 882-0489.
PSA Team Happenings
Connie Fisk, PSA Northwest Regional Extension Associate, had the opportunity to speak at the 2020 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference, March 6, 2020 in St. Louis, MO. In her presentation she discussed general microbiology, with a review of concepts presented in Module 1 of the PSA Grower Training Course, and an overview of outbreaks that have been traced to fresh or frozen raspberries and blackberries. She followed that up with details of four outbreaks in various produce categories (one each involving worker health and hygiene, wildlife, production water, and equipment surfaces), with key takeaways for caneberry growers. A summary of the talk can be viewed on Connie’s blog.
Don Stoeckel, PSA Midwest Regional Extension Associate, was able to support a three-day food safety conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin attended by representatives from numerous Wisconsin tribes. The meeting included a PSA Grower Training course and a Farm Food Safety Plan writing workshop. The multi-organization group hosting the event has plans to pursue similar opportunities for Indian Country in the near future. Don is also working to fast track the PSA Grower Training Online course, and appreciates all of the fantastic feedback we have gotten on the topic from many of you.
Betsy Bihn, PSA Director, presented a webinar entitled Fresh Produce Safety: GAPS, Challenges, Opportunities, and Successes on March 24, 2020 as part of the FRESH Seminar Series hosted by Adam Borger of the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Educational Materials & Resources
The PSA has released an update to the factsheet focused on helping PSA Trainers prepare for their application to become a PSA Lead Trainer. The factsheet includes detailed information on the necessary experience and education qualifications of prospective PSA Lead Trainers, as well as tips for gaining this knowledge and experience prior to applying to become a PSA Lead Trainer. Additional guidance is provided in the factsheet for drafting responses to the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application questions and staying up-to-date on key FDA updates and guidance that could impact how the curriculum content is delivered. A Spanish translation of this document will be available shortly.
 
Please note the information presented above in this newsletter regarding current delays in the PSA Lead Trainer Application process. While we continue to encourage Lead Trainer Application submissions, we want to alert all prospective applicants that there is currently a delay in the review of applications due to COVID-19 and availability of PSA Lead Trainer Application Review Committee members. 
The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS) has expanded the regional water testing lab map to include water testing labs across the United States. The goal of this map is to help produce growers locate a lab that is geographically close to their location and has the capability to perform at least one of these approved test methods. All the information included in this map has been confirmed by the lab so a grower can be confident that the lab can perform the test needed AND that the lab has received information about the testing methods required under the Produce Safety Rule. For lab information, click on the individual pin within the map.

We encourage collaborators to work with labs in their region and state to help expand this resource by sharing with local labs and encouraging them to complete the necessary survey . Through the survey, the lab will confirm their contact information, operating hours, and testing capabilities. Labs are only added to the map after providing this information. This map is active, but currently under construction as lab information is being added on a regular basis. The project team is populating the tool and following the protocol established by Michigan State which requires that all labs confirm their information and opt-in to be included. If you know of a lab that is not currently listed, please encourage them to fill out the survey with up-to-date information. 
Upcoming Train-the-Trainer Courses
Check our website frequently for additional course availability.
 NOTICE: All trainings are tentative given the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Falcon Heights, MN, USA: TBD
  • Location: 1790 Larpenteur Ave W, Falcon Heights, MN 55113, USA
  • Contact Information: Laura Acuña-Maldonado, Phone: 607-882-5635
  • Cost: Growers $36.50; Trainers $71.50; 
  • Training Language: Spanish

Wenatchee, WA, USA: 6/10/2020 - 6/11/2020
  • Location: Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way #102, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA
  • Contact Information: Connie Landis Fisk, Phone: 541-250-6227
  • Cost: $100; Course #: WA-200610-TR Registration Coming Soon!
  • Training Language: English
Job Postings
Note: Some universities and organizations are on a hiring freeze due to COVID-19, however, we are still sharing these postings for reference.
The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is seeking a state specialist in Food Safety. The specialist will lead UNH Extension’s food safety team in development and delivery of research-based educational programming and technical assistance to farms and food manufacturers. They will be the primary Extension resource for technical assistance to help farms and food manufacturers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety and Preventive Controls rules as well as other federal and local regulations. For more information and to apply, visit the website .

The Department of Horticulture at Auburn University is seeking candidates for the position of Fresh Produce Food Safety Specialist – Assistant Professor. This is a 12-month, tenure-track position (75% Extension and 25% research). The successful candidate will develop an Extension/research program focused on food safety of fresh produce (from producer to consumer) for fruit and vegetable growers and processors in Alabama. The objective of the programming is to 1) provide research-based knowledge relevant to the production, processing and marketing of fruit and vegetable products; 2) promote best practices and innovations that will ensure safe-to-eat, high quality products for existing and new high value markets; 3) provide professional development training to ACES Regional Extension Agents; and 4) provide leadership to the development, delivery and evaluation of impactful Extension programs. For more information and to apply, visit the website