News Briefs from the PSA Team
September 2019
This week, PSA Northwest Regional Extension Associate, Dr. Connie Fisk , participated in the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference in Fort Wayne, IN. This event is a great opportunity for Agricultural Extension professionals to learn from each other and receive recognition for innovative research and educational programming. Highlights of her week included 1) a day-long hydroponics workshop to better understand the produce safety challenges of this production system, 2) the communications awards luncheon where she was a regional finalist in the computer generated graphics presentation category, and 3) a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE) sponsored tour focused on family farm sustainability. Connie is an active member of the Nebraska section of this important organization and serves as the state’s treasurer.
Also this week, Dr. Don Stoeckel , PSA Midwest Regional Extension Associate, participated in the Produce Safety Rule Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin Pilot Workshop hosted in Altoona, Iowa by Iowa State University, the North Central Regional FSMA Center , and FDA. The 1-day workshop reached a national cross section of produce-industry stakeholders and was followed by the opportunity to tour the ISU composting operation. Presentations and discussions were informative and energetic. Key learnings will be discussed at the next Produce Safety Educators’ Call on Sept. 30, 2019.
On September 4-6, 2019, Don had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Farm Market Nutrition Programs Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Don presented to the group about the Produce Safety Rule and learned more about Farm Market Nutrition Programs (including SNAP, WIC) and produce farmer engagement in those programs.
Ms. Donna Clements , PSA Southwest Regional Extension Associate, had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in Los Angeles, California on September 4, 2019. Donna spoke with the group about outreach on the Produce Safety Rule and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), including grower challenges with implementing produce safety practices. Bangladesh agricultural exports and the development of a Bangladesh GAPs program were also discussed during the meeting.
Spanish Extension Associate, Dr. Laura Elisa Acuna-Maldonado , participated with other trainers in the delivery of the Produce International Partnership (PIP) Train the Trainer program in San José, Costa Rica, July 15-17, 2019. Sixty-one people from 8 countries (Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, and Peru) attended this training with the goal of becoming future PSA Lead Trainers.
International Association for Food Protection , Louisville, KY, July 21-24, 2019. Many of the PSA team were able to attend (Dr. Connie Fisk, Dr. Kristin Woods, Dr. Betsy Bihn , Ms. Donna Clements, Ms. Gretchen Wall , and Dr. Don Stoeckel (not pictured)) and contribute to or otherwise support the following posters and sessions. It was great connecting with so many of our colleagues, and learning so much from the other speakers.
In order of the agenda:
  • P1-91: Effective Delivery of an Online Good Manufacturing Practices Course to Teach Regulatory Requirements and Food Safety Practices, poster by Betsy Bihn and colleagues, abstract available at IAFP.
  • T1-12: Development of the On-Farm Readiness Review to Prepare Farms for Produce Safety Rule Implementation, talk by Betsy Bihn and colleagues, abstract available at IAFP (recording also accessible, for subscribers only).
  • T1-03: Ballpark Figures: Use of a Mathematical Model to Estimate Relative Risk from Agricultural Water to Produce in Pursuit of “Same Level of Public Health Protection” Evaluations, talk by Don Stoeckel, abstract available at IAFP (recording also accessible, for subscribers only).
  • Produce Safety Alliance Special Session Monday night, attended by more than 80 PSA Trainers and other stakeholders.
  • S47: Advancing the Science of Risk-based Criteria for Agricultural Water Quality, session developed by Don Stoeckel, Donna Clements, and collaborators, abstracts available at IAFP (recording also accessible, for subscribers only).
  • RT11: Revitalizing the Future of Food Safety Extension, panelist Connie Fisk, abstract available at IAFP.
Educational Resources
Check out these new short videos on produce safety topics, infiltration and biofilms!
For more videos from the Produce Safety Alliance, visit our YouTube Channel
Infiltration: Temperature differences between produce and bulk tank water may cause infiltration. Learn more about this produce safety risk in this short video.
Biofilms: A biofilm is a complex structure of different microorganisms adhering to a surface and protected by glue-like carbohydrates secreted by the microorganisms. Once the microorganisms attach to food contact surfaces as a biofilm, they are very difficult to completely remove. Frequent cleaning is an important step to prevent buildup of biofilms.
Farm Food Safety Plan Template
While writing a farm food safety plan is not a requirement of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, it is a good idea to get your farm organized and help prepare for a third party audit, if applicable. A new template has been developed to help growers write their own farm food safety plan. The template references USDA GHP/GAP and USDA Harmonized GAP audit numbers as well as the corresponding FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements for covered farms.
FDA Updates
Launch of the Produce Safety Technical Assistance Network (TAN )
In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the Final Rule for Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, otherwise known as the Produce Safety Rule, required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This rule establishes science-based standards for the production and harvesting of certain produce, including sprouts. In October 2018, the FDA published a draft compliance and implementation guidance to help covered farms comply with the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule. The draft guidance provides a broad range of recommendations on how to meet the requirements for most subparts of the rule. It also outlines how to determine whether produce or farms may be eligible for exemptions from certain requirements, or from the rule in its entirety.

Regulation and policy interpretation questions related to the Produce Safety Rule should continue to be submitted to the FDA FSMA Technical Assistance Network (TAN) . In addition, the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) has also developed their own Technical Assistance Network. In the past, the FSPCA TAN has supported inquiries related to the FSMA Preventive Controls Rules, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), sprout safety, and other FSMA programs and activities. The FSPCA TAN is also now open to receive technical questions related to Produce Safety Rule and related guidance. Questions can be submitted by visiting the produce section of the FSPCA TAN webpage. The inquiries submitted to the FSPCA TAN are referred to extension staff for a response.
Upcoming Events
Save the Date: PSA Advanced Trainer Workshops
The PSA, in collaboration with the FSMA Southern Center for Training, Outreach, and Technical Assistance, will be hosting two advanced training workshops geared towards PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers. Dates have been set for two separate workshops (choose one) to be held in Lake Alfred, FL for December 17-19, 2019 and January 28-30, 2020. At minimum, individuals must have attended the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course prior to attending the advanced workshop. Registration information will be shared soon. For more information about the Lake Alfred workshops, contact Katelynn Stull . The PSA does intend to host these workshops in other regions of the country, but additional dates and locations have not been set.
Louisiana State University AgCenter - Composting for Produce Safety
A Compost Operators Workshop will be held on September 24, 2019 in Alexandria/Pineville, LA through the LSU AgCenter. This course will cover the microbial risk associated with biological soil amendments of animal origin and the current state/federal and market requirements for production and use of compost. The main focus will be covering the basic principles of composting and emphasizing technologies/practices relevant to small scale or backyard composting. For more information contact Achyut Adhikari ( 225-578-2529 or Bahia Nightengale ( 318-441-3408. 
Upcoming Train-the-Trainer Courses
Check our website frequently for additional course availability.

Apopka, FL, USA: 12/11/2019 - 12/12/2019
  • Location: 2725 S Binion Rd., Apopka, FL 32703, USA
  • Contact Information: Kristin Woods, Phone: 251-753-1164
  • Cost: $250; Course #: FL-191211-TR
  • Registration Information
  • Training Language: English

Wenatchee, WA, USA: 4/1/2020 - 4/2/2020
  • Location: 285 Technology Center Way #102, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA
  • Contact Information: Connie Landis Fisk, Phone: 541-250-6227
  • Cost: Growers $25; Trainers $100; Course #: WA-200401-INT
  • Training Language: English
Job Opportunities
Western Growers: Learning and Development Manager, Science & Technology - Irvine, CA
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. Western Growers members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Some farm throughout the U.S. and other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, they provide variety and healthy choices to consumers. The Learning and Development Manager will report directly to the Assistant Vice President of Science and Technology and is responsible for designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating a range of responsive educational curricula and training programs within the food safety, science and technology fields. This position will conduct focused training and assessments in the area of food safety for Western Growers members. The incumbent is responsible for supporting the development, management, and expansion of the Science and Technology division’s training and consultation services.
For more information and to apply, click here
University of Rhode Island - Post Doc Opportunity
The URI Food Safety Outreach and Education Program is seeking a creative, motivated and dynamic candidate to aid and support the growth of the program to engage with the Rhode Island and regional food system. This position will be collaborative in nature. The candidate will be expected to assist with the required regulatory Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training program and to help the URI Food Safety program with other outreach efforts, where appropriate, and to develop new and ongoing applied research projects.

Candidate qualifications: Ph.D. in Food Science or related field, at time of appointment.
Length of appointment: 1 year from start date

Please contact Nicole Richard (401-874-2977 or ) for more information or to discuss this opportunity.