September 3, 2020

Hello Produce Safety Alliance Listserv Members:
The following newsletter includes several important announcements from FDA which were released in the past two months, followed by PSA updates. As web-based learning options become more prevalent, the PSA has stepped up to make sure PSA Grower Trainings remain accessible to produce growers during the pandemic. We also plan to offer refresher office hours for PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers preparing for remote training deliveries this winter. Read more below about web-based learning opportunities for both growers and trainers in this newsletter!

The PSA Team
FDA Updates
EPA and FDA Collaborate on Irrigation Water Treatment Registration Protocol
July 30, 2020

Fresh produce growers sometimes must consider treatment options for their irrigation water as one way to minimize risk to produce safety, in particular when following the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) food safety practices related to water quality. FDA reported on a new protocol for obtaining EPA registration for ‘antimicrobial pesticide’ chemical treatments of irrigation water in an announcement released on July 30, 2020. The new protocol was needed because, as FDA states in an accompanying statement, “there are currently no registered antimicrobial treatment products that are authorized to control microorganisms of public health significance for use on agricultural fields, or for treatment of irrigation water systems or ponds.”  The testing protocol is housed at EPA and can be used by the chemical supply industry to “develop treatment products for the agricultural water used to irrigate our nation’s leafy greens”, as stated in the 30 July announcement.
FDA Requests Information on Expansion of the Rarely Consumed Raw List for Uncommonly Consumed Produce
August 6, 2020

The FSMA Produce Safety Rule contains an exhaustive list of Rarely Consumed Raw (RCR) crops not subject to the requirements of the Rule. This FDA factsheet explains how the RCR list was originally developed using data from national food consumption patterns and select criteria. An announcement from August 6 invites the submission of “commodity-specific data that would indicate whether that particular fruit or vegetable is consumed cooked by almost all consumers across the United States at this time”. The FDA is requesting information on produce that could not be effectively classified as RCR because of low reported consumption in the United States; this information may be used to consider expanding the RCR list to include additional produce commodities. Additional information may include “data indicating that a commodity cannot safely be consumed uncooked, e.g., because in its uncooked state it contains toxic properties”, and “information on any kill steps other than cooking”. More details on the request for information and the link to submit a formal comment can be found in the federal register. The comment period ends on November 9, 2020. 
FDA and OSHA Team Up to Publish Checklist to Assist Food Industry During COVID-19
August 19, 2020

Over the last several months, the FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have developed a number of resources to help food industry employers continue or resume operations safely. To assist the food industry as it navigates changes to operations related to COVID-19, the FDA teamed up with OSHA to develop the “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The checklist pulls from existing guidance provided by the FDA, CDC, and OSHA and serves as a quick reference to help the food industry assess employee health, social distancing, and food safety within workplaces as operations may be impacted by COVID-19. For more information, visit the FDA’s Constituent Update.
Web-based Learning Opportunities for Growers and Trainers
PSA Grower Training Courses Available During COVID-19

When measures to control COVID-19 went into effect across the United States and other countries, the PSA team moved quickly to ensure growers would have access to required produce safety training. The PSA team fast-tracked an Online PSA Grower Training course option and a Temporary Remote Delivery course option. Both successfully launched in April 2020. Now, in addition to in-person courses that continue to be available at some locations, fresh produce growers and packers have access to the course via the internet in two different formats. The Online option is best for those who need to work at their own pace, and that have more time to invest. The Online PSA Grower Training is text heavy and requires participants to write six discussions for evaluation by a PSA Trainer. The Remote Delivery option is best for those who have blocks of time available and prefer to listen to a PSA Trainer deliver the content as live presentations over the internet. Full details of these two course options are in the linked descriptions. Search our Upcoming Grower Trainings listing for a course that meets your training needs or talk to your local produce safety outreach team member about their plans to offer the course in the coming months.
PSA Hosting Webinar Series to Prepare Trainers for Remote Delivery of the PSA Grower Training Course

PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers, are you preparing to offer Remote PSA Grower Training courses? If so, join us for a series of Train-the-Trainer refreshers on Thursdays in October and November at noon Eastern time. Each week we will devote an office hour to one module with tips for teaching remotely. We’ll discuss the critical concepts from that module and strategies we use to increase participant engagement. There will be time for questions and discussion. The basic presentation each week will be recorded and available on the PSA website for later viewing, but we will not be recording the discussion so that trainers can ask their questions freely. As always, you can contact your PSA Regional Extension Associate at any time with your specific questions about delivering the PSA Grower Training Course. Registration is not required, just use the Zoom meeting link listed below to connect.

Schedule:
All meetings begin at 12 PM ET
Oct. 1 – Module 1: Introduction to Produce Safety
Oct. 8 – Module 2: Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
Oct. 15 – Module 3: Soil Amendments
Oct. 22 – Module 4: Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
Oct. 29 – Module 5-1: Agricultural Water – Production Water
Nov. 5 – Module 5-2: Agricultural Water – Postharvest Water
Nov. 12 – Module 6: Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
Nov. 19 – Module 7: How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

Connection details:
Join Zoom Meeting
 
Meeting ID: 973 3345 5266
Passcode: 541541
One tap mobile
+16027530140,,97333455266# US (Phoenix)
+16692192599,,97333455266# US (San Jose)