Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule (PSR) continues to roll out in California. Since January 26, 2018, produce farms designated as “large” (those with annual sales greater than $500,000) have been required to comply with the new federal regulations under the PSR. The next to be required to comply were farms with $250,000 or more in annual sales and starting in January of this year farms with $25,000 to $250,000 in annual sales also were required to comply.
One of the initial PSR requirements is that every produce farm must have an individual employed who has completed a Produce Safety Rule Grower Training, or equivalent course, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA normally requires these courses to be attended in person, but for a limited time, a remote course has been approved as shelter-in-place orders continue throughout the country. If your farm has yet to have an employee complete this course, now is the perfect time to enroll.
Two remote courses are scheduled for May, with one on May 14 and the other on May 28. Both are being offered through the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) located at UC Davis. Each course includes 7 hours of instruction via Zoom. Attendees must have web-cam and audio capabilities and will be required to have both operating during the full course of the training from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to verify presence and participation. Zoom does not require special software. Attendees are also required to have a printed manual and one will be mailed to you prior to the course
Course instructors are David Goldenberg of WIFSS, Michele Jay-Russell of the Western Center for Food Safety and Donna Clements of the Produce Safety Alliance. Individuals who participate in these courses will gain a basic understanding of the following: microorganisms and where they may be found on the farm; how to identify microbial risks and the practices that reduce risks; how to write a farm food safety plan and requirements of the Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.
Visit the WIFSS website to register. May 7 is the registration deadline for the May 14 course. May 21 is the registration deadline for the May 28 course. The cost is $60. After attending the course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials that verifies they have completed the training course.