Produce Safety Program
With a focus on food safety, the OSV has begun working towards implementation of the new federally required Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR). The Alaska Produce Safety Program will work closely with UAF's Cooperative Extension Service to provide educational opportunities, and ensure that growers and other stakeholders throughout the state continue to meet the federal requirements for safe production, harvest, and handling practices for fresh fruits and vegetables.
FSMA Produce Safety Rule
The Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) is a law passed by congress in 2011. It was the first major overhaul of food safety law in the United States in over 70 years. The law was designed to enable the FDA to address the increasing incidence of foodborne illnesses across the U.S. It allows for the development of regulations to protect the safety of human and animal food, both imported and domestic. Certain provisions of FSMA took effect immediately, including giving the FDA authority to enact mandatory food recalls in the event of an outbreak. Others will be phased in gradually.
Very few Alaskan farms will be subject to the full extent of FSMA's Produce Safety Rule. Criteria for farms that fall under these federal requirements are based on the size of the farm and where they sell. These requirements apply to the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of whole, unprocessed produce for human consumption that is generally consumed raw. This is due to the increased risk posed by microbial contamination in fruits and vegetables that are not processed or cooked before consumption.
The PSR requires growers to:
- Test their agricultural water
- Enact worker health, hygiene, and food safety training measures
- Treat and use soil amendments properly (compost, manure, fish waste)
- Prevent contamination of produce by wild and domestic animals
- Provide for safe handling and sanitation of produce
- Provide for proper construction, maintenance, and cleaning of equipment, buildings, and tools used to store and handle produce
- Keep certain records
These requirements do NOT apply to food that is consumed on the farm, commodities that are generally cooked before being consumed, or to produce that is destined for commercial processing that will adequately reduce the presence of microorganisms. There are additional requirements for growing sprouts, due to the high incidence of foodborne illness associated with them.
Most Alaskan farms will either be exempt from the PSR entirely or eligible for a "qualified exemption".
OSV Produce Growers Food Safety Workshop
This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved course will satisfy the Grower Training course requirements under the PSR. The course and materials are free at this time.
The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), information on the PSR requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. It is open to anyone interested in learning more about produce safety and GAPs!
We will be offering this workshop on an ongoing basis throughout the state. If you would like to schedule a training session in your area, please let us know!
To register or for more information, contact Barbara Hanson: 907-375-8278 or email@example.com.