Food safety meeting November 7 & 8

By Terence Bradshaw

I have received a number of questions regarding the November 7&8 Food Safety Training hosted by UVM Extension that I mentioned in a post this week. Below I summarize some quick answers from myself and UVM Extension’s Hans Estrin to the more common ones:

1. Will this training be offered again?

This training is offered again and again across the country and world (see Produce Safety Alliance schedule). It is unlikely, however that Vermonters will ever find a course SO close and almost fully subsidized!

2. What farmers need to take this?

Farms covered under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce rule MUST take it. That means any farm that sells more than $25,000 annually in ‘covered produce’, which includes fresh produce. If you sell less than $25,000 in edible produce. Producers who sell between $25k and $500k may fall into a ‘qualified exemption’ category, but the producer must still comply with rules surrounding the exemption. A quick chart regarding exemptions is available here. It is recommended for any other produce grower, and especially growing farms or farm somewhere near the 500K cut –off or those with sales below that who utilize wholesale markets.

3. Will CAPS suffice (no, if you’re not exempted or qualified exempt)?

No. This refers to the UVM Extension / VT Vegetable and Berry Growers Association Community Education for Produce Safety program. CAPS and Produce Safety Alliance training are different things. CAPS is a comprehensive program and with a certificate. PSA grower training is an extended education (standardized) presentation with mandatory attendance for covered farms. SO….CAPS is a good foundation for FSMA compliance, but does NOT substitute for the official grower training.

Answers to many Frequently Asked Questions regarding FSMA may be found here.

I will offer a word of warning passed on from Hans: this is, unfortunately, going to be a fairly bureaucratic training that is required for many producers as this Federal law continues to be implemented. It may be difficult to sit through, but the trainers are doing their best to make the information as useful as possible to growers. -TB

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