Food Safety Modernization Act Workshop

— Written By

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Macon County Center will offer a workshop for small farms on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The workshop will be Tuesday, October 23, 2018, from 2-4 p.m. at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Macon County Center, 193 Thomas Heights Road in Franklin.

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA developed “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”. These standards are commonly referred to as the Produce Safety Rule. The goal for this Rule is to minimize the risks for consumers of eating raw fruit and vegetables that could be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms that cause food-borne illness. The Produce Safety Rule targets produce (fruits and vegetables) that are usually eaten raw. Many small farmers are not sure how this rule will affect them and have been asking for guidance.

The intent of this workshop is to help you understand where your farm may fall under this regulation and learn about food safety practices that are relevant to small, diversified farms in NC. Farm inspections are expected to start in the spring of 2019 and even though most small- and medium-scale farms may be not covered or qualified exempt from some of the stipulations of the Rule, all produce growers have the responsibility to grow, pack and hold produce following safe practices. Come learn with us!

The FSMA for Small Farms Workshop will cover six Food Safety Practices essential for maintaining fresh produce safety on farms of any scale. It will also help participants walk-through an “Exempt or Not? Navigating the Qualifications” exercise to determine how FSMA’s Fresh Produce Safety Rule will govern each participant’s own operation. Workshop leaders will also educate participants in how FSMA will affect any CSAs and Food Hubs that growers may be part of, and focus on the confluence of required practices under FSMA as a preparation and requirement for potential GAP audits and certifications.

The workshop will be taught by N.C. Cooperative Extension Area Specialized Agent for Food Safety, Elena Rogers. Elena provides educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to growers, Extension Agents and the produce industry in the Western half of North Carolina. 

This workshop is free and open to all current and potential farmers of vegetables and fruits at any scale. Pre-registration is requested and the deadline to register is Friday, October 19. If you have any questions, contact Alan Durden, County Extension Director at 828 349-2046.