Get required produce safety training from UC

Apr 23, 2019

Get required produce safety training from UC

Apr 23, 2019
Hands holding vegetables, red turnip, orange, yellow, and green peppers, and purple beet.

The food production environment introduces many potential points of contamination risk from the soil to the table. Consumer demand for food safety practices along with new government regulations for fresh produce have raised grower awareness of the need for best practices to reduce microbial risks during the production and processing of nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Produce Safety Courses Available in Northern California

Produce safety training courses offered through the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) are informing the farming community about Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) to reduce microbial risks and meet Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training requirements. The FSMA Produce Safety Rule requires vegetable, nut, and fruit growers, to have at least one supervisor or responsible party on the produce farm who has successfully completed food safety training. The training courses are offered in English and Spanish and run through June 2019.

What to expect

The Produce Safety Alliance team at Cornell University developed the curriculum for the PSA Grower Training Courses working together with many growers, researchers, extension educators, produce industry members, and state and federal regulatory personnel.

Trainers, such as lead trainer David Goldenberg, food safety and security training coordinator at WIFSS, provide approximately seven hours of instruction time, which includes table top exercises and question and discussion time.

Topics include:

  • An introduction to produce safety
  • Worker health, hygiene, and training
  • Soil amendments
  • Wildlife, domesticated animals and land use
  • Agricultural water, production water and post-harvest water
  • Post harvest handling and sanitation, and how to develop a farm food safety plan

Training underway

The Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training courses, underway since January of 2019, have been attended by vegetable, nut, and fruit growers from Butte County to Monterey County. David Goldenberg along with Aparna Gazula, farm advisor for small farms and specialty crops, with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension in Santa Clara County, conducted the first WIFSS training class. Assisting in the training with Goldenberg and Gazula were Avery Cromwell with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Donna Pahl, Cornell University, Produce Safety Alliance Extension Associate, with the Southwest Region, Riverside.

Dr. Michele Jay-Russell, research microbiologist and manager for the Western Center for Food Safety and Liaison to WIFSS, joined Goldenberg in Oroville in March, where they presented an interactive demonstration of wildlife fecal contamination risk and mitigation at the Butte County Farm Bureau.

Benefits from attending the course

Course participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies training course completion. To receive the certificate, you need to be present for the entire one-day course and submit the paperwork to your trainer at the end of the course.

Costs to attend

Sign up now for training courses to obtain a certificate of completion for the mandatory training to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. This is a chance to learn about foodborne illness and its impacts to the produce industry and consumers, different types of foodborne illness organisms, why prevention of contamination is critical to produce safety, how to conduct basic risk assessment, and steps involved in monitoring, record keeping, and corrective actions. CDFA, through a contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is subsidizing the cost of the training. A $30 cost per registrant will be charged to provide a lunch, beverages and the course manual and certificate completion.


By Chris M Brunner
Author - Public Relations Officer
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