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November 1, 2016
Hello Produce Safety Alliance Members,

Note from the Director
First, I would like to welcome all the new listserve members to the Produce Safety Alliance!  We have had quite a few people sign up since our last newsletter and we hope that you will find the information in this newsletter helpful.  We encourage anyone with questions about the Produce Safety Alliance, our training courses, or our educational materials to reach out to any member of the PSA team. We have lots of exciting updates to share with you in this newsletter, so we'll get right to it!
- Betsy Bihn
PSA Director 
PSA Training Updates
PSA Trainings Launch - September 2016
 
After a four-year curriculum development process, the PSA officially launched both Train-the-Trainer Courses and Grower Training Courses in September 2016. During this process, the PSA drew together fruit and vegetable growers, educators, researchers, and regulatory personnel to share currently available educational materials , convene ten public working committees , and conduct eight focus groups with diverse groups of produce farmers across the country. In addition, the PSA worked closely with the FDA Division of Produce Safety staff to ensure the curriculum aligned with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule as well as included basic Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). We would like to sincerely thank all of the individuals who played a key role in the development and review of the curriculum and the many who continue to contribute to the PSA's outreach and education efforts.

To aid in providing outreach and extension assistance, in 2015 and 2016 the PSA hired four additional Regional Extension Associates and two additional staff members to collaborate with produce growers, processors, educators, industry members, and regulators in their regions. We encourage you to reach out to any member of the PSA team if you have questions or interest in collaborating to conduct PSA trainings for produce growers or other trainers in your region. 

PSA Training Courses, Dates, & Locations

The Produce Safety Alliance will be offering two types of training ; Train-the-Trainer and Grower Training Courses . A current list of Train-the-Trainer and Grower Training Courses are posted on the website, along with their registration links as courses become available. If a course does not have an active registration link, it is either because a) the course registration is not yet open, or b) the course is already filled or not a public course. The PSA cancelled several training courses in 2015 and early 2016 due to curriculum review process delays and therefore, some courses already have a list of attendees registered. The PSA will be offering several publicly available courses in early 2017. Please check the website often!  In addition, we will periodically share this information through this listserve as the registration pages become active. Training costs will vary by site, but the PSA is working with collaborators in an attempt to keep training affordable.
The Value of Attending a PSA Grower Training:
Even if Excluded or Exempted from FSMA!
The PSA Grower Training has valuable information for all growers because knowledge is power! We know that not all fruit and vegetable growers and their farms are subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule because some growers may be eligible for exemptions or otherwise excluded from the requirements.  Despite these exemptions and exclusions, it is important for all growers to understand the FSMA Produce Safety Rule because it impacts the fresh produce industry as a whole.  In addition, some buyers may require growers to follow the Produce Safety Rule requirements whether or not growers are subject to them.  The PSA Grower Training provides foundational knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, how the requirements may impact current GAPs that growers have already implemented, and information on how to develop a farm food safety plan. 

Even though a farm food safety plan is not required by the FSMA Produce Safety
Rule, this module is included in the training because growers in the PSA Working  Committees and focus groups identified a farm food safety plan as a valuable part of understanding and implementing produce safety practices on the farm. Lastly, the PSA is working  with collaborators to keep PSA Grower Trainings as available and inexpensive as possible so that all growers have access to this training.  
How do I become a PSA Trainer or PSA Lead Trainer?
We are very excited that there has been such a great interest in individuals wanting to attend the PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses and become  PSA Trainers or PSA Lead Trainers . For a basic overview of how to become a PSA Trainer or PSA Lead Trainer, follow along with the steps below. 

Step 1
Register for a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course

Step 2
Fill out the PSA Trainer Application. 
Once you have signed up for the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course , you will be sent a link to the PSA Trainer Application*. This application will not be available before registering for a Train-the-Trainer Course and is not available to download or fill out from our website - it will only be available after you have registered for a training course and will be shared by the course organizer. No one will be turned away from attending the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, but course availability may be limited by location and host.

*Please take time to provide thorough responses to the PSA Trainer Application. If you choose to become a PSA Lead Trainer, your original application will be reviewed and evaluated against a standardized rubric, along with the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application. 

Step 3
Attend the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course. 
The PSA Train-the-Trainer Certificate of Course Completion is required ($50) to officially enter you into the database with AFDO as a PSA Trainer so that you can register and host PSA Grower Training Courses.  

Step 4
Become a PSA Lead Trainer, if desired.
All PSA Grower Training Courses MUST have at least one PSA Lead Trainer and anyone presenting at a PSA Grower Training must be, at minimum, a PSA Trainer (i.e., attended the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course and filled out the PSA Trainer Application). A fter the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course concludes, all PSA Trainers will receive a unique link in their e-mail to fill out the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application if they want to become a PSA Lead Trainer. The process of becoming a PSA Lead Trainer is intended to ensure that PSA Lead Trainers meet the minimum qualifications in each of the four competency areas as well as the educational and teaching background necessary to lead a PSA Grower Training Course. The supplemental application questions will help evaluate trainers' knowledge and their preparedness to conduct PSA Grower Training Courses.  

The PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application will cost $325 for non-profit organizations and $500 for for-profit organizations. This fee covers the cost of the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee member's time reviewing and approving applications, as well as any time spent conducting follow-up interviews with applicants.

Step 5
After you have been notified that you have achieved PSA Lead Trainer status, you may register PSA Grower Training Courses with the Association of Food and Drug Officials

For more information on the PSA Trainer and PSA Lead Trainer process, please  visit the website
Information for Current PSA Trainers
PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Applications
For those of you who have attended the PSA's Train-the-Trainer Course, we wanted to inform you that the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application links have started to go out. The link to the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application is unique to you and tied to your original PSA Trainer Application, so it will not work if you forward it to others. There is no timeline required to fill out the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application, however, the sooner we receive your responses, the sooner we can engage the committee in evaluating your responses. 

Registering PSA Grower Training Courses
AFDO is now accepting PSA Grower Training Course registrations, as long as there is at least one PSA Lead Trainer and all other trainers delivering PSA Training Modules have attended the Train-the-Trainer Course. Information about registering PSA Grower Training Courses is available on the AFDO website at: http://www.afdo.org/producesafetyalliance.  

Ordering PSA Training Materials
The bookstore is now open to order PSA Grower Manuals ($50) and PSA Train-the-Trainer Manuals ($75). 
Orders must be placed 3 weeks in advance to ensure order processing and delivery. The NYSAES Bookstore and the PSA will not be responsible for any extra fees associated with shipping materials for rush delivery.  The PSA Grower Training Manuals come in packets that are three-hole punched with colored tabs, binder cover, and spine. The manual DOES NOT include a three-ring binder. Trainers will be responsible for purchasing their own three ring binders for participants. This helps to keep the cost of shipping lower. A 1.5"-2" three ring binder will fit the PSA Grower Training Course Manual. Binders with a clear cover sleeve are recommended for insertion of the binder cover and spine that is included with the PSA Grower Training Manual.  An example of this type of binder would be Universal # UNV20972 (Google it!).

Training materials will be translated into Spanish in the near future and also be available in several other languages in 2017.  

The bookstore is open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm Eastern Time.
The bookstore will be closed Nov. 23-25, 2016 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 23, 2016-Jan. 2, 2017 for Christmas/New Years and Jan. 16-19, 2017 - so please plan your orders in advance. 
 
NYSAES Bookstore
Cornell University
630 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 787-2248
gro2@cornell.edu
Regional Center Updates
In 2015, recognizing the need for food safety training for small farm owners and food processors, the FDA and USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Grant Program, intended to provide funding so that these critical groups receive training, education and technical assistance consistent with standards being established under FSMA. Grants issued through this program have funded a National Coordination Center (NCC) and four Regional Centers (RCs), which are involved in both facilitating training delivery and curricula development targeted to specific audiences. The Produce Safety Alliance has engaged with these centers to ensure that training needs for produce growers across the country are met. More information and links to the NCC and individual RC websites are below. We will provide relevant updates regarding produce safety activities at the RCs going forward.
International Food Protection Training Institute
Battle Creek, MI | PI: Gerald Wojtala
Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS)
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT | PI: Chris Callahan
Sister Alliance Updates
 
SSA to Host Train-the-Trainer Course - Jan. 10-12, 2017 Richmond, CA
The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) is hosting a Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Course in Richmond, CA on January 10-12, 2017.  This course provides the participant the knowledge and tools needed to perform the duties of a Lead Instructor for the FDA-recognized Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA)  training curriculum. The course content is focused on the requirements outlined in the FDA Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (i.e., the Produce Safety Rule) specifically applicable to sprout operations, and best practices to enhance sprout safety. Learning Management System (LMS) usage, administrative tasks for the sprout growers' SSA training course and a refresher on effective presentation for the adult learner, are also covered.
 
For more information and registration, please click on the two links below: 
UC Davis to Host Sprout Safety Alliance Course - Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, 2016
Davis, CA
The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center (PTC) and Lead Instructor, Trevor Suslow, are offering a 2 ½ -day course Nov 29-Dec 1, 2016 in Davis, CA. Interested individuals are encouraged to get on the course distribution list by sending an e-mail of intent to Jennifer Still, PTC Program Support Associate by November 4, 2016.

Registration will be open soon at: http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu.
The course fee is $800 per person and includes SSA course fee, materials and certificates, lunch, beverages and snacks.
Dates and times: Nov. 29, 8 am-5 pm Nov. 30, 8 am-5 pm and Dec. 1, 8 am-12 pm
Location: Hyatt Place, UC Davis
173 Old Davis Road Extension, Davis, California, USA, 95616
Phone: 530-756-9500

The courses that combined the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food with Lead Instructor training are no longer available domestically in the U.S. Those courses were offered for a limited time in order to build a cadre of Lead Instructors. Going forward, the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food course must be successfully completed before acceptance into Lead Instructor training (a certificate of completion number will be required). As well, you must be an approved Lead Instructor for Human Food candidate in order to take Lead Instructor training.
 
However, the Alliance is planning "combined" courses internationally to build the base of international lead instructors. Several international courses were delivered in 2016 and additional courses are being planned in 2017.  The 2017 course schedule is currently being discussed.
 
An Animal Food Lead Instructor course is being held on November 15-17 in Elk River, MN. There is still room in the course. Prerequisites include successful completion of the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course and registrants must be an approved FSPCA Animal Food Lead Instructor candidate.
The 2017 course schedule is currently being discussed and planned.
 
Currently all comments and questions from the October 5th-7th Walk-Through of the FSVP curriculum is being assembled. November 8th and 9th are the scheduled dates for exercise development. A second Walk-Through will be scheduled for three days in mid-December and a proposed pilot will be in late January.

Intentional Adulteration Sub-Committee
The FSPCA IA Subcommittee held their kickoff meeting on September 21, 2016. A combination of online and face-to-face standardized training to support the IA final rule is being planned. The training development process is underway and is being done in concert with guidance development. Each component of the standardized training will be drafted by FDA subject matter experts and reviewed by the IA Subcommittee members. As necessary and appropriate, pilot sessions will be held to receive additional stakeholder feedback on the draft training content prior to finalization.

FSPCA Model Plan Work Group
Of relevance to this group, the FSPCA Model Plan Work Group has been developing model food safety plans for fresh produce operations.  A team of industry, academic, and FDA officials was assembled by the United Fresh Produce Association to develop model plans for produce industry members who may need to comply with the FSMA Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food.  The processes selected were facility packing of blueberries (a dry pack operation) and facility packing of tomatoes (an operation that uses wash tanks or flumes).  These models have already been used in multiple FSPCA training courses, and improvements have been made to make them more useful for training and to comply with the new FSPCA guidelines.  The Work Group expects to submit the model plans to FSPCA soon, and FSPCA Lead Instructors will be notified when the plans have been accepted.  In the meantime, FSPCA Lead Instructors who want to see or use the model plans before final approval should contact Dr. Jennifer McEntire, Vice President Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association
FDA Updates

Aug. 23, 2016 - FDA Announces Grant Award for Tribes and Local Food Producers to Enhance Food Safety and Compliance Under FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)


Food industry training is critical to successful  implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). However, traditional training activities may not work for all groups, and there are instances in which alternate curricula and training delivery are appropriate.  Recognizing the great diversity that is the hallmark of the food industry, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the awarding of cooperative agreements that will develop training options for local food production systems and tribal operations.
  • The Local Food Producer Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FSMA Compliance cooperative agreement is awarded to the National Farmers Union Foundation. The goal is to develop and provide science-based, culturally specific food safety training, education and outreach, for local food producers and processors. 
  • The Native American Tribes Outreach, Education, and Training to Enhance Food Safety and FSMA Compliance cooperative agreement is awarded to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. This agreement will reflect the cultural practices associated with produce farming and food manufacturing and processing within tribes relevant to their status as sovereign nations. 

Sept. 9, 2016 - FDA Provides $21.8 Million to States for Produce Safety
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced the awarding of a total of $21.8 million to support 42 states in the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule.

The cooperative agreement between the FDA and the states provides awardees with the resources to formulate a multi-year plan to implement a produce safety system, develop and provide education, outreach and technical assistance, prioritizing farming operations covered by the produce safety rule, and develop programs to address the specific and unique needs of their  farming communities, among other goals.
Additional information on state awardees can be found on the State Produce Implementation Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) page .
USDA Updates
USDA NIFA Awards $4.7 million in grants through Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP)
 
T he U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded more than $4.7 million in grants for food safety education, training and technical assistance projects who are impacted by the new food safety guidelines established by the FDA under FSMA. The grants, made available through NIFA's Food Safety Outreach Program , will assist owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers, food hubs, farmers markets and others.
 
View the full press release here
Stay in Touch!
Our general listserve reaches over 2,500 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  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. We love feedback, so let us know! Good, bad, or otherwise - our ears (and e-mail inboxes) are always open!
Gretchen L. Wall, M.S.

Produce Safety Alliance Coordinator 

Elizabeth A. Bihn, Ph.D.

Produce Safety Alliance Director 

Cornell University - Dept. of Food Science

110B 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