Irrigation Well Demonstration at the Leyendecker Research Center

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service created an irrigation well demonstration for the WRCEFS Produce Safety Professional Development Workshop. This workshop was a collaborative effort among the Produce Safety Alliance, Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, and New Mexico State University.

 

Video can be viewed on our WRCEFS YouTube channel

 

Video Source: The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (Emily Russell) and New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service (Tom Dean)

Viruses in Frozen Berries? A Comprehensive Look at the Scientific Evidence

Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor from the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University presented a seminar on the history and importance of viruses in frozen berries on January 16, 2020. 

Webinar recording can be viewed on our WRCEFS YouTube Channel

 
Abstract: 

In early 2019, the FDA began a frozen berry sampling plan to screen commercial product for evidence of Norovirus and Hepatitis A contamination. While imported frozen berries have been associated with four US outbreaks in the last 20 years, there have been none linked to domestically produced product. So it was quite unexpected when FDA obtained PCR-based evidence of virus contamination in over 10 of 575 products sampled, with most of these positives arising from domestically produced product. These findings resulted in numerous recalls. Growers, processors, retailers, and the scientific community are baffled by these results, and there are many knowledge gaps that make it difficult to respond to this situation. This presentation will provide a history of the plan, how and why its findings are important, and provide a platform to discuss what can (and cannot) be done to help the berry industry navigate this complex and evolving issue.  

 

This webinar was hosted by Oregon State University and the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety

Food Safety Education for the Cottage Industry and Farmers' Market Groups

WRCEFS members from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources have developed several food safety videos for their cottage food industry and farmers' market stakeholders. The videos can be viewed at the links below. 

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Cross Contamination

Storage and Refrigeration

Washing Produce

Worker Hygiene

 

Image Credit: Pixabay, Terri Cnudde, 2017

Small Farm Agricultural Water Monitoring and Treatment Multilingual Training Videos

WRCEFS members from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources have developed a video for agricultural water small scale injection treatment systems. The video can be viewed at the link below. 

Ag Water: Small Scale Injection Treatment System

 

Image Credit: Pixabay, Holger Schue, 2015

Oregon Water Lab Testing Information

Oregon State University has compiled a list of water testing labs for the state of Oregon. This information will be added to the National Water Testing Lab Map that was created by the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS).

A map of labs that do water testing in Oregon can be found here

New - Spanish Translated Farm Food Safety Resources

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) has partnered with the University of Vermont Extension to translate some of their farmer resources into Spanish. To view these Spanish resources, please click on the links below or visit the CAFF website: https://www.caff.org/recursos-agricolas-en-espanol/

 

Resources

Acabado de Superficies para Áreas para Productos Frescos y Alimentos (Smooth and Cleanable Surfaces)

Lista de Verificación para el Refrigerador de la (Farm Cooler Checklist)

Pisos para Áreas de Lavando, Empaque y Almacenamiento de Vegetales (Best Design for Food Safety- Floors)

Pre-PCQI Seminar Series: Introduction to FSMA and Basic Food Safety Education for Small and Very Small Scale Food Processors

This project developed training materials for a one-day workshop, designed to provide basic food safety knowledge and introduction to Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements. It is intended for audiences that may not be familiar with food safety and FSMA, or ready for the level of training offered through the standardized Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) curriculum for Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PCQI).

Current standardized curriculum for Preventive Controls for Human Food, developed by FSPCA, includes 16 chapters of detailed information, taught over a period of 2.5 days. Larger processors that have to be compliant with the PCQI requirement are expected to go through the standardized FSPCA curriculum training; however, smaller businesses may be overwhelmed with this curriculum, especially if those processors have no previous food safety training. To overcome this challenge, we adapted existing training materials and developed new materials that will allow the audience not familiar with food safety and FSMA to gain a basic understanding of food safety fundamentals, preventive controls and requirements under FSMA. 

Teaching Example Food Safety Plan for Breadfruit Flour

Breadfruit is nutritious and abundant in Pacific islands, but it is an underutilized crop due to poor storability. The breadfruit flour consists of carbohydrate (88.2%), protein (4.0%), fat (1.3%), and dietary fiber (4.2%). The chemical, functional, and rheological properties of breadfruit flours show potential to be used as an ingredient substituting wheat flour for baked products. The breadfruit flour, a value-added tropical fruit product, extends the use and the shelf-life of breadfruit.

Researchers from University of Guam developed a Model Food Safety Plan for breadfruit flour, providing information on the principles of the risk-based preventive controls.

Sanitation and environmental monitoring workshop

Most current sanitation training curricula focuses on what regulations says about cleaning and sanitation, but not on the practicalities behind how to achieve effective cleaning and sanitation results. A two-day workshop was developed and piloted in April 2018, addressing: Sanitation and Environmental Monitoring; Microbiological Contaminants in Food Processing Environments; the Basics of Personal Hygiene & Cleaning; Sanitizers and Pest Control; Introduction to Food Microbiological Laboratory Training; and developing Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs/Plans) and Checklists. The second day featured presentations from vendors and vendor trainers regarding real world approaches as well as equipment and materials used in achieving sanitation and environmental compliance. This was followed by breakout sessions to address solutions for the following specific commodities:

Seafood Plant Sanitation
Fruit and Vegetable Packing House Sanitation
Creamery Sanitation
At-Sea Processor’s Sanitation
Brewing, Cidery, Winery and Distillation Facility Sanitation Food Kit Production Ready to Eat and Retail Sanitation

Workshop agenda and slides:

NIFA FSOP grant projects in the Western U.S.


The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded various food safety education and outreach projects through their Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP). To view the full articles and to see the full list of funded projects visit NIFA FSOP WEBPAGE.

Some of the projects are highlighted here.


Modified Produce Safety Alliance and Water Testing Trainings in Oregon

The overall goal of this project was to build upon the food safety outreach program at the Oregon State University (OSU) to address knowledge and resource gaps in delivering standardized Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) training to the produce industry in Oregon. 

Specific project objectives included: 

  1. Adaptation of PSA curriculum to include grower engagement, region-specific practices and commodities;
  2. Delivery of modified PSA curriculum to produce growers in Oregon.

 

PSA curriculum modifications included add-on exercises:

  • Module 1 Exercise - Are you in or out?

PSA grower course trainees are divided into five groups, with each group given one of the five fictitious farm examples created for this training. Groups are asked to determine if each of the farms would be exempt or covered by the Produce Safety Rule. If exempted, groups are asked to discuss what type of exemption farms would qualify for. 

  •  Module 4 Exercise - Risks associated with wildlife and domesticated animal intrusion in areas with covered produce.

The intent of this exercise is for PSA grower course trainees to think through various wildlife and domesticated animal intrusion scenarios and consider implications related to produce safety. Trainees are divided into groups, with 4 to 6 people in each group. Each group is given a set of printed photos to work through, and asked to answer situational questions.

  • Module 5.1 Exercise - Agricultural water (preharvest)

The intent of this exercise is for PSA grower course trainees to become familiar with water testing and interpreting of water testing results. Trainees are asked to bring a personal water sample on day 1 of the training, which are then tested using IDEXX ColiLert-18 with QuantiTray 2000. On day 2, trainees go through exercise to interpret water testing results, use microbial water quality profile (MWQP) calculators, and discuss mitigation strategies.

The intent of the exercise is for PSA grower course trainees to witness the impact of water infiltration in produce, consider produce safety implications related to post-harvest water quality and think about the importance of managing postharvest water quality. Each group of PSA grower course trainees (4-6 per group) is given at least one prepared tomato, a knife, and a cutting board.  The participants are asked to discuss water infiltration, how they would minimize their batch water risk and other questions relevant to managing the safety of postharvest water.

The intent of the exercise is for PSA grower course trainees to think through various harvest and post-harvest scenarios and consider implications related to produce safety in the context of real production environments. Trainees are divided into groups (4-6 people per group). Each group is given a set of the printed photos to work through.  Groups are asked to discuss different types of surfaces, the ability to effectively clean and sanitize these surfaces, and how to document related activities.


    Hawaii Roots Food Safety Outreach Project

    Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (Hawaii, Pacific WRCEFS sub-region)

    • This project focuses on enhancing food safety systems among Hawaii’s small and/or new producers, processors, and wholesalers through establishing a network to disseminate food safety information and best practices, as well as creating new food safety education opportunities.

      Latino Immigrant Farm-Owner Education on Food Safety (LIFE) Project

      ALBA

      • ALBA’s mission is to create economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education in the heart of the Salinas Valley.
      • Working with primarily Latino immigrants.
      • 100-acre organic farm incubator (up to 4 years in the program – making progress and being successful).
      • Reduced barriers to entry – land, equipment, water. Subsidies that decrease each year to help them be successful.
      • Strong partnerships for business growth.

       

      Successes

      • 400 graduates from 300 hours.
      • 100+ have started independent farms.
      • 200+ returned to local ag industry in better ag positions.

      Food Safety in the Field: Using Manure and Compost Safely

      As part of a USDA funded Food Safety Outreach Project, the International Rescue Committee in Sacramento produced customized educational content on food safety for marginalized groups of farmers. This video is the first in what will be a series of educational videos that will be created to educate and train farmers on different aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). This video shows farmers the correct methods to use and apply manure and compost and comply with local and federal regulations. This video is in Nepali and has English subtitles and is intended to be used with Nepali speaking farmers as part of a larger training.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR-TNP3-npI&feature=youtu.be

      Food Safety in the Field: Farmer Health and Hygiene

      As part of a USDA funded Food Safety Outreach Project, the International Rescue Committee in Sacramento produced customized educational content on food safety for marginalized groups of farmers. This video is the first in what will be a series of educational videos that will be created to educate and train farmers on different aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). This video shows farmers key issues to be aware of and comply with to ensure safe produce by maintaining good health and hygiene standards on the farm. This video is in Arabic and has English subtitles. It features Arabic speaking Iraqi farmers and is intended to be used with other Iraqi farmers as part of a larger training.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK1h4K26tBE&feature=youtu.be


      Visual Aids on Chemical Safety for lu Mien farmers

      As part of a USDA funded Food Safety Outreach Project, the International Rescue Committee in Sacramento produced customized educational content on food safety for marginalized groups of farmers. These posters are a three part set on the topic of chemical safety that were created specifically for lu Mien commercial farmers. These visual aids are designed for installation on the farm and where chemicals are stored, to serve as visual cues or reminders that complement an in-person chemical safety training. These posters cover three topics: one is reminder for farmers on the requirements and proper methods for storing chemicals on the farm; another serves as a reminder for farmers to keep comprehensive records of each chemical application on their farm as required by state and federal law; and the last serves as an reminder for farmers on how to read chemical labels and select the correct chemicals.

      Please visit the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse to see these resources

       


      Expanding Food Safety Outreach and Education for Local Food Systems in California

      Community Alliance with Family Farmers Foundation (California - Southwest WRCEFS sub-region)

      • The Community Alliance with Family Farmers Foundation (CAFF), based out of Davis, California, provides food safety education and guidance to small farms in California. Through this grant, CAFF hopes to expand their reach and to provide presentations, webinars, handouts, and workshops on FSMA and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to small, disadvantaged, minority, and/or organic farmers.
      • View a frequently updated in-person food safety workshop schedule here and listen to past food safety webinars here.

      Food Safety Resources Clearinghouse

      This Clearinghouse is a curated source of Produce Safety and Preventive Controls for Human Food related resources.  Anyone can search and view the resources linked to the clearinghouse by using one or all of the search tools below (type, topic, state, and/or keywords).

      In order to link your food safety related materials and make them searchable within the clearinghouse, please create an account or log in to submit your resources.  For details about the clearinghouse, please visit the about page.

      Questions about searching, creating an account, or submitting your resources?  Email necafs@uvm.edu or review our instructional videos about creating a new account or posting resources.

      Submit your resources to FSR Clearinghouse today at: https://www.uvm.edu/extension/necafs/clearinghouse/