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Train-the-Trainer Course #1 Graduates: Kalamazoo, MI
June 2-3, 2015 
June 29, 2015 
Hello Produce Safety Alliance Members!

We hope you are all having a great start to your summer - ours surely started off with a bang! This month, we officially launched the PSA Train-the-Trainer Program, hosting two trainings; Kalamazoo, MI attended by 54 participants and Harrisburg, PA attended by 50 participants. A special thank you to our collaborators at Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Michigan State University Extension, Great Lakes Conference on Food Protection, Penn State Extension, and the Pennsylvania Food Safety Resource Center for all of their help in organizing and making these first two trainings a success. We received lots constructive and positive feedback from the first cadre of trainers to help us as we continually improve the course.

This newsletter is focused on providing answers to commonly asked questions about both the PSA Train-the-Trainer and PSA Grower Training Courses as well as our anticipated timeline. This newsletter only contains a snapshot of information related to the PSA's training programs. More detailed information will be made available shortly on the Produce Safety Alliance website at www.producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu. 

Produce Safety Alliance Train-the-Trainer Course 

General Information

The PSA Train-the-Trainer Course is a two-day course that provides a review of the seven-module PSA Grower Training curriculum, an overview of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule standards, and additional modules to prepare trainers for hosting a PSA Grower Training Course, outlined below:

  • Introduction to the proposed FSMA Produce Safety Rule and key challenges
  • Principles of adult education
  • How to incorporate the PSA curriculum into other extension trainings, such as multi-day programs
  • How to develop working partnerships and effective training teams
  • Expectations and logistics for trainer certification
  • How to register and host a PSA Grower Training Course 
Review the standard PSA Train-the-Trainer Course Agenda.

Who Should Attend the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course?

Anyone who wants to use the PSA Grower Curriculum to train growers to meet the requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule §112.22(c) which requires "at least one supervisor or responsible party from the farm to successfully complete food safety training at least equivalent to that received under the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration." All individuals who want to become trainers must attend this two-day course before being eligible to become a PSA Certified Trainer or PSA Certified Lead Trainer. 


What is the difference between a PSA Certified Trainer and a PSA Certified Lead Trainer?

PSA Trainer Certification Process Flow Diagram

PSA Certified Trainer
To become a PSA Certified Trainer, an individual must attend the full, two-day PSA Train-the-Trainer Course. At the conclusion of the course, information from the PSA Training Application will be entered into the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) database and a certificate will be generated for each course participant indicating that they are a PSA Certified Trainer. The certificates will be mailed directly to each participant.

PSA Certified Trainers can:

  • Deliver any of the seven curriculum modules during a PSA Grower Training Course under the supervision of a PSA Certified Lead Trainer;
  • Register PSA Grower Training Courses with AFDO, as long as a PSA Certified Lead Trainer is physically present for the entire PSA Grower Training Course;
  • Proceed with scheduling an interview to become a PSA Certified Lead Trainer.
PSA Certified Lead Trainer

To become a PSA Certified Lead Trainer, an individual must first be a PSA Certified Trainer by attending the two-day PSA Train-the-Trainer Course and then successfully complete a telephone interview designed to evaluate the core trainer competency areas described below. The interviews will include questions and scenarios from the curriculum content covered during the two-day Train-the-Trainer Course and will be conducted with no less than two PSA Interview Committee Members.

PSA Certified Lead Trainers can:

  • Deliver any of the seven curriculum modules during a PSA Grower Training
  • Register PSA Grower Training Courses with AFDO
  • Host a training solo or by forming training teams, as long as all trainers have attend the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course.

Forming Training Teams

It is very likely the most trainers will conduct trainings for produce growers as a team. Any individual delivering the PSA's seven curriculum modules must have attended the two-day PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, at minimum. Each training must have at least one PSA Certified Lead Trainer present throughout the entire course. PSA Certified Lead Trainers may also provide training without the help of a team; it just makes for a very long day of one person talking!

PSA Trainer Competency Areas

Due to the depth and breadth of information covered by the curriculum, trainers should have broad knowledge and experience in the competency areas described below. While it is not expected that all individuals who attend the Train-the-Trainer course will be experts in all of the topics below, it is critical that at least one experienced individual (PSA Certified Lead Trainer) who is competent in all of the areas, be present at all PSA Grower Trainings to provide oversight for course delivery and accuracy.

  • Produce Safety Scientific Knowledge and Experience
  • Fruit and Vegetable Production Knowledge
  • Effective Training Delivery
  • Knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule
Click here for more information regarding trainer competencies and expectations.

I'm applying for a grant, what sort of costs should I anticipate to conduct a grower training or attend a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course?

It is the intent of the PSA to keep costs as low as possible for both growers and trainers. Set costs for the PSA Grower Training course include the PSA educational materials ($50) and PSA/AFDO Certificate of Course Completion ($35). Additional costs may vary. Trainers must evaluate what to charge participants to cover costs depending on meeting costs and available funding.  Potential costs of hosting training may include:

  • Renting a meeting space or venue
  • Meals, beverages, and other snacks
  • Travel reimbursement for trainers
  • Educational material costs
  • Shipping costs for educational materials
  • Additional resources that are provided

Currently, the costs of the PSA Train-the-Trainer course are $75 for educational materials and $50 for the PSA/AFDO Certificate of Course Completion which will result in attendees becoming PSA Certified Trainers. There are additional costs associated with becoming a PSA Certified Lead Trainer and we are currently evaluating the best way to cover the costs for the PSA Certified Lead Trainer interview. More information will be made available shortly, but the fee for the interview is likely to be around $200, plus an additional $25 to reissue a new certificate with the updated trainer status. Additional costs will vary by location, host, and venue (see list above). 


When and where are the Train-the-Trainer Courses and how can I register?

There are no PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses currently scheduled as we prepare to expand our program with four regional Extension Associates to facilitate training and outreach. We anticipate scheduling a number of PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses this fall; however, the dates and locations have not yet been determined. We will send out broad notification through this listserv and on our website as soon as we have additional courses scheduled. 

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course

General Information

The PSA Grower Training Course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule standards, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm
  • How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm
  • Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one
  • Expectations proposed in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.

Who Should Attend?

Fruit and vegetables growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), co-management, and the proposed FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Any growers who would like to meet the proposed Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in §112.22 (c)

"At least one supervisor from the farm must complete food safety training at least equivalent to the standardized curriculum recognized by the FDA". Additional information may be covered in the training, depending on how the trainer structures the course (See Flexibility Section below).


What materials are included in the PSA Grower Training Manual?

The PSA Grower Training Course manual includes:

  • All seven curriculum module slide sets and teaching notes
  • FSMA Produce Safety Rule Regulatory Reference Table
  • Glossary of terms
  • Farm food safety plan writing resources
  • A worksheet on understanding and calculating geometric means and statistical threshold values for agricultural water
  • References and contact information
Why is a module on developing a Farm Food Safety Plan included in the program?

Although a farm food safety plan is not required by the proposed FSMA Produce Safety Rule, our Working Committee members and farmer focus groups identified this as a critical need for produce growers. First, it helps growers get organized and focused on produce safety.  It also helps them plan the use of resources by investing time and money in practices that reduce the biggest risks first. A farm food safety plan will also help produce growers, even those who are exempt or not covered by the regulation, to be prepared for buyer questions and third party audits. To have a third party audit, growers need a farm food safety plan.

Does the PSA provide flexibility within the standardized curriculum and PSA Grower Training Course?
Absolutely! The PSA and Working Committees identified very early on in this process that the diversity of produce growers across the country will require different techniques and considerations for trainingWhile the curriculum has been designed as a one-day, seven module course , trainers are not limited to delivering it in just one day. Trainers may choose to deliver it in multiple days or include other pertinent material for the growers, such as information about third party audits or more advanced content. In order for the growers to be eligible for the Certificate of Course Completion from the Association of Food & Drug Officials, they must have been exposed to all seven curriculum modules and slides, whether that is done in one day or multiple days. 

The modules also provide labeled 'optional slides' which the trainer can decide to deliver for the particular audience. The curriculum modules have been through a rigorous review process by countless subject matter experts, regulatory officials, and other collaborators; therefore, the text on the slides from the seven modules cannot be changed. Photos may be swapped out, within context of the slide, to provide a more representative example which reflects the commodity, growing region, or practice more effectively.

Any additional materials, slides, or curriculum content that trainers choose to add on to the program will not be included in the printed materials that the growers receive from the PSA. The educational materials have been professionally designed to facilitate note-taking and trainers will be responsible for any additional printed materials or PowerPoint slides that they choose to provide attendees.  This provides an opportunity for growers to potentially learn more about other topics, such as third party audits, hands-on food safety plan writing, or more advanced content such as post-harvest water management. 


Are the educational materials available in other languages?

Currently, the materials are available in English, but once the final FSMA Produce Safety Rule is released, there is a plan to translate these materials into Spanish with other languages to follow, as necessary. More information about translations will be made available in the near future. 

FDA Updates & Announcements

FDA Consumer Safety Officer Positions Posted


Several Consumer Safety Officer positions have been announced within CFSAN's Office of Food Safety, Division of Produce Safety, Processed Produce Branch. To learn more and to apply, visit the links below.

The complete application package for both postings above must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, July 03, 2015.

Educational & Research Needs

Michigan State University (MSU) and the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) are working together to evaluate food safety research from a USDA-NIFA grant project titled, "An Integrated Approach to Enhance the Microbial Safety of Fresh-Cut Fruit and Vegetable Salads during Processing, Packaging, and Distribution."


IFPTI recorded a webinar of the research presentations and created a post-webinar survey for participants to provide feedback. Please help MSU and IFPTI by watching the webinar and completing the survey to evaluate this research and identify future research needs. The entire pre-recorded webinar runs under 40 minutes.


Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/freshcutsurvey


For more information, contact Jennifer Dama at jennifer.dama@ifpti.org.

Thank you for providing your input on produce safety research direction.

Updates from our Sister Alliances

The Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) held curriculum pilot sessions in April (Rockville, MD), May (Vancouver, WA) and June (Chicago, IL). FSPCA also held webinars to University Extension Administrators and Specialists (April 30, May 20), as well as the June quarter FSPCA update webinar (June 24). A face-to-face FSPCA Steering Committee meeting was held in May in Washington DC. In addition, an FSPCA International Subcommittee has been established to facilitate international outreach and training activities of the food safety preventive controls core curriculum to the international audience. As part of the international outreach activities, Dr. Robert Brackett was invited and presented at the FDA FSMA Roundtable for Embassy and International Stakeholders held at College Park, MD, on June 23. Train-the-trainer sessions will begin after the final rule is published. A task timeline, FSPCA Domestic and International one-page flyers, as well as the dates of upcoming FSPCA webinars in September and December are posted on the Alliance website.

The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) hosted a FDA webinar titled "Implementing the Produce Rule" on May 22, 2015. The presentation was given by Ms. Fazila Shakir who is a Co-lead of Phase Two FSMA Produce Implementation Workgroup, Division of Produce Safety within CFSAN/FDA.  The webinar featured an overview of FDA's current thinking on the operational strategy for implementation of FSMA rules with particular emphasis on the Produce Safety Rule, and the exemptions that might be interesting for sprout growers. Thirty eight people participated in the webinar, and about half of them were sprout growers. Other participants included individuals from testing labs, federal and state government agencies, and University extension specialists.

Stay in Touch!

Our general listserve reaches over 1,000 growers, industry members, regulatory agents, and educators in the United States and around the globe. Signing up for the listserve is the best way to stay in touch with the PSA. To sign up, please visit our website at http://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/ or use the link included at the bottom of this e-mail message


As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or ideas.


Take care,

Gretchen & Betsy

Gretchen L. Wall, M.S.

Produce Safety Alliance Coordinator 

Elizabeth A. Bihn, Ph.D.

Produce Safety Alliance Director 

Cornell University - Dept. of Food Science

186 Stocking Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone:  607.255.6806

Email: glw53@cornell.edu

Hedrick Hall - NYSAES
630 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315.787.2625