by Glen Arnold, Putnam County
Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team will offer a Produce Safety Education Program on Monday, March 21 at the Putnam County Extension Office in Ottawa.
Organizers say the program is timed to the approaching growing season and to the recent passage of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, which emphasizes prevention and science-based standards.
The workshop is for any fruit and vegetable grower who grows from one acre and sells at a farm stand all the way up to a large-scale grower shipping out of state. It’s also aimed at any farmer who may be interested in participating in the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement, which is currently being drafted. Being a member of this voluntary program requires attendance in a produce safety course.
The three-hour course will cover four main areas — water issues, soil amendments, good handling practices and traceability — plus consumer perceptions, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and a background on foodborne illnesses. An included workbook will help participants identify, assess and manage their risk and implement standard operating procedures.
The instructors will be experts on food safety and fruit and vegetable management from Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Participants will receive a certificate of completion.
The three-hour course will focus on several areas: water issues, soil amendments, good handling practices and traceability, consumer perceptions, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and a background on foodborne illnesses.
Registration costs $40 per person, with each class limited to 50 people.
Registration forms can be downloaded at http://www.producesafety.osu.edu (click on “Program Dates”), or call 330-202-3555, ext. 2918, to receive one in the mail. For more information, call the same number, visit that website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.