June 8, 2020

We are one day late, but Happy World Food Safety Day, PSA newsletter subscribers! Thank you for your contributions to keeping the food supply chain safe, from farm to fork! In this newsletter, you will find pertinent updates on the availability of web-based PSA Grower Training options, FDA and CDC updates, and upcoming learning opportunities.

The PSA Team
Making the PSA Grower Training Accessible During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Food safety remains critical during the COVID-19 outbreak. For this reason, the PSA team moved quickly to approve a temporary policy for remote deliveries of the PSA Grower Training in March 2020. Additionally, the PSA had been actively piloting the Online PSA Grower Training Course prior to the coronavirus shutdown and launched the online training on April 15, 2020. These options provide access to the PSA Grower Training course which is one way to meet the training requirement in § 112.22(c) of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. The trainings are different, so it is important for participants to understand the differences before they enroll. There are many current course offerings . Please continue reading below to better understand each course type.  
  • In-person course is a traditional classroom style course with instructors, typically presented in a single 7-8 hour training day. At this time, most in-person courses have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
  • Online delivery course is a three-week course that can be completed at your own pace. There are six required discussions that must be completed by participants. The course is instructor led and is expected to take 15-30 hours for successful completion.
  • Remote delivery course is a course led in real time by instructors delivered with video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Webex. This is a temporary option that is being supported during the COVID-19 outbreak. Remote deliveries have been approved until July 31, 2020. Later this week, PSA will be sending out an update to PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers extending the remote policy to September 30, 2020. More information coming soon. 
PSA Team Support for Regional Training
The PSA Regional Extension Associates and Director are used to a busy travel schedule, allowing the team to work with collaborators from across the country and beyond. However, travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic have grounded the team, and we thought we would focus this month on activities that we have been able to attend remotely in our efforts to reduce risk to produce safety.
Laura Acuña-Maldonado, PSA Spanish-Language Extension Associate was recently involved in the Spanish translation efforts of the Produce Safety Rule, as well as translating PSA’s written policies, online course content, and other documents.
Betsy Bihn, PSA Director, participated in the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety’s Annual Meeting on May 12 to discuss Food Safety on Farms in Time of COVID-19 and has been coordinating PSA team efforts to answer produce industry COVID-19 questions during the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University’s (IFS@CU) Produce Industry Office Hours (see below under Meetings, Webinars, and Resources) . She has also been responding to media requests for how to reduce risks during COVID-19, such as this article focused on food sharing .
Donna Clements , PSA Southwest Regional Extension Associate, worked on her remote instruction skills by supporting two one-day remote PSA Grower Training Courses with the UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, on May 14 and 28. She worked with a training team that included David Goldenberg (UC Davis WIFSS), Michele Jay-Russell (UC Davis WCFS), and Angel Garibaldi (AGvising). Donna also collaborated with the Riverside Food Systems Alliance and the Riverside Unified School District to offer a remote GAPs training (June 2-4) for small farms in Riverside, CA interested in expanding their market access.
Connie Fisk , PSA Northwest Regional Extension Associate, continues to support trainers nationally as well as in her region with weekly office hours. Join Connie for tips and practice using Zoom for remote PSA Grower Training Courses every Thursday in June at 9 am PDT (12 pm EDT).
Tommy Saunders , PSA Southeast Regional Extension Associate, has spent his month reaching out and getting to know the outreach teams in his region. He has been particularly involved with the Kentucky outreach team as they continue remote delivery of PSA Grower Training courses. Tommy will be the Lead Trainer for a remote delivery course on June 16 with the Kentucky outreach team.
Don Stoeckel , PSA Midwest Regional Extension Associate, supported PSA outreach teams in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Missouri with preparations for remote delivery. These experiences will be highlighted in a North Central Regional FSMA Center Success Story article that will be shared at the NCR website later this month. Don also joined the Michigan produce safety outreach team on May 28 th to share strategies for finding and organizing reliable information on new topics, such as COVID-19, and virtual resources for professional development.
Gretchen Wall , PSA Coordinator and Northeast Regional Extension Associate, worked with a fantastic group of PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers in Vermont to offer the PSA Grower Training remotely on May 5-6, 2020. The course was hosted by the University of Vermont and co-instructed by Kristina Sweet (Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets), Chris Callahan (UVM), Hans Estrin (UVM), Tucker Diego (Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets), and Andrew Chamberlin (UVM) with additional technical assistance and organization by Dana Ruppert (UVM) and Gina Clithero (Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets).
Other News Briefs from the PSA Team

  • Last month Donna Clements and Connie Fisk collaborated with the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety and New Mexico State University to develop and deliver a Produce Safety Professional Development Workshop for Western Region produce safety educators. During this half-day virtual workshop, participants learned about recent updates to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to address tough questions. Other workshop events included breakout deep dives into sticky topics, virtual demonstrations, and sharing examples of ways to increase participant engagement. Due to the workshop’s popularity and high demand, the group is working to schedule a second offering later this year. Participation in this workshop is by invite only. For questions, please contact Donna, Connie, or Stephanie Brown at wrcefs@oregonstate.edu.
  • The Online PSA Grower Training course launched on April 15 and all five sessions since the launch have reached the registration capacity of 20. PSA Extension Associates fill the role of Lead Trainer and facilitator for these courses. During COVID-19, this course is being offered at the reduced rate of $150 and the PSA team plans to offer new courses that start every other week through September. A link for more details about the course format is above, or contact Don Stoeckel.
  • Tommy Saunders and Betsy Bihn worked to develop Protecting Yourself and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in collaboration with IFS@CU. In addition, the PSA team has been working to update the produce industry FAQs as new questions arise.  
FDA Updates
Spanish Translation of the Codified Text of the Produce Safety Rule Now Available
On May 13, 2020, FDA released a Spanish translation of the codified text of the Produce Safety Rule.

The FDA offers this translation as a service for the Spanish-speaking international and domestic audiences. While the Agency has tried to obtain as accurate a translation as possible to the English version, they recognize that the translated version may not be as accurate, clear, or complete as the English version. Also, this Spanish translation only includes the codified text of the document. The complete and official version of the Produce Safety Rule is the English version.
Temporary Policy During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Regarding the Qualified Exemption from the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
On May 22, 2020, FDA issued a temporary policy which establishes that FDA does not intend to enforce the criteria for sales to qualified end users when determining their eligibility for the qualified exemption under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule during the current public health emergency. FDA will announce when this guidance is no longer in effect. This guidance may impact growers who have total annual food sales of less than $500,000 ( adjusted for inflation ; average 3 year value 2017-2019 $561,494) and whose primary market channels are direct to consumers. Please review the original provision in § 112.5 of the Produce Safety Rule to determine whether this applies to your farm. This will allow growers the flexibility to adjust to current market realities and alleviate food shortages.
CDC Updates
Agriculture Workers and Employers: Interim Guidance from CDC and the U.S. Department of Labor
On June 2, 2020, CDC and the Department of Labor issued an interim guidance that provides a template for action to protect agricultural workers from COVID-19. Agricultural employers can adapt these recommendations to protect workers at their particular work sites or in specific work operations.
Meetings, Webinars, and Resources
Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University (IFS@CU) – COVID-19 Food Industry Resources & Office Hours Available
In collaboration with colleagues at University of Delaware, United Fresh, Rutgers University, University of Florida, Ecolab, University of Vermont, Institute for Food Safety, and other special guests, Produce Industry Office Hours have been offered to allow participants to ask any questions they have related to COVID-19. Whether you have questions about the virus or how to manage your farm or packinghouse to reduce risks, please join us for up-to-date information and discussion. The IFS@CU also offers office hours for other commodity groups, so check out the available resources and share this information with your agricultural colleagues and friends.


Job Postings
National Farmers Union – Food Safety Project Manager
National Farmers Union is seeking a Food Safety Project Manager to oversee its food safety outreach and education, and to manage relationships with project partners, the FDA, and grant sub-recipients. For more information and to apply, click here