|Each participant receives a binder packed with information|
Less known is the fact that any farm with more than $500,000 in annual sales is required to send at least one employee to mandated grower training on produce safety. In Washington, this amounts to about 2,000 farms required to take the training. Many more farms may also elect to take the training to improve their food safety knowledge and practices.
WSDA’s new Produce Safety Program is collaborating with Washington State University and the Produce Safety Alliance to put on trainings that meet the FSMA requirement. These day-long trainings are being held at various locations throughout the state and new training dates continue to be added.
Here’s an overview of topics covered in the training:
- An introduction to produce safety
- Worker health, hygiene, and training
- Working with soil amendments
- Wildlife, domesticated animals, and land use
- Agricultural water – production water and postharvest water
- Developing a farm food safety plan
For many farms, the training provides a refresher and reinforces their existing food safety practices. “It’s just like GlobalGAP*,” one farmer said during the training. But whoever attends the trainings will likely come away with new ideas on improving food safety on their farms, as well as a better understanding of current regulation.
Several trainings are still available to attend before farming season begins in earnest:
- Feb. 15 – Vancouver
- March 6 – Mount Vernon
- March 6-7 – Mount Vernon (Train the trainer)
*GlobalGAP, or Global Good Agricultural Practices, is a voluntary certification program focused on ensuring a safe and sustainable global food supply.