Benchmarking of Auditing Schemes

In all the discussion of food safety, the requests for specific third-party audits has frustrated growers- eventuating in growers needing to develop plans and pass multiple auditing matrix.  United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) Food Safety & Technology Council has developed a searchable-tool that allows for side-by-side comparison of audit matrix in the hopes that this tool will allow for growers to make more informed decisions about the auditors and differences between audits.  Maybe even “push back” on a market that is requesting for yet another audit……

Check out website:

http://www.unitedfresh.org/newsviews/food_safety_resource_center/audits_benchmarking_matrix

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Voluntary Recall on Romaine Lettuce linked to E. coli

This recall is for products containing romaine lettuce with a use by date of May 12 or earlier because they have the potential to be contaminated with Escherichia coli O145 bacteria (E. coli O145). The products were sold under the Freshway brand and Imperial Sysco brand.

The recalled romaine lettuce products were sold to wholesalers and food service outlets in the following states east of the Mississippi river: Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The recalled romaine products were also sold for distribution to in-store salad bars and delis for Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores in the states listed.

The whole recall notice can be viewed at : FDA Recall Site

N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Training Curriculum Available for Other States

As Extension, our mission is to partner with communities to deliver education and technology that enrich the lives, land and economy of North Carolinians.  As such, the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Training Curriculum will be made available to other partnering states.

The N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety –Field to Family GAPs curriculum has been developed for and targeted to the needs of educators such as growers, Extension agents, and other interested educators.   This curriculum will complement the GAPs and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) outlined in the FDA/USDA “Guide to Minimizing Microbial Hazards in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.” It will also address recent needs surfacing from USDA GAPs/GHPs audits, other third-party audits and the GAPs certification process. It is designed as a train-the-trainer resource with an emphasis on increasing an understanding of the microbial risks associated with producing, harvesting, washing, sorting, packing and distributing fresh fruits and vegetables.

N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family GAPs curriculum was developed by N.C. Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University.  Partners from the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and FoodLogiQ, LLC, contributed.

The curriculum is divided into nine modules, with each module encompassing 1 to 1.5 hour blocks of instruction. Each module provides a PowerPoint presentation, PDF files with more in-depth notes and references, learned experiences/exercises and handouts when appropriate, and pre-post tests.

The educational curriculum consists of these nine modules:

  1. Fresh Produce Safety Introduction
  2. GAPs Field Practices
  3. Packing Facility Sanitation
  4. Health and Hygiene
  5. Animals, Animal Byproducts, Biosolids and Site Selection
  6. Water Quality
  7. The 3 Ts: Transportation, Traceback and Traceforward
  8. Managing Liability and Risk
  9. Dealing with Controversies and Crises: Working with the News Media

Guidelines for Use of Curriculum in North Carolina

The educational working group recommends that N.C. Cooperative Extension agents or other educators offer trainings for Tier 1 of the curriculum.  Tier 1 consists of Modules 1 through 6, and should be delivered in seven hours of instruction, covering the materials as outlined in the curriculum.  Specialists will deliver Tier 2, which consists of Modules 7 through 9 plus risk identification and management, which  will be delivered in seven hours of instruction, covering the materials as outlined in the curriculum.

Find details on the training tiers in the introduction section of the curriculum notebook.

Because N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family is a branded program, we specifically request that you use the materials as presented. We understand that presentation styles may vary, and that’s perfectly acceptable. We also are aware that educators often incorporate experiential activities to enhance the curriculum and that, too, is acceptable.  However, because this is a branded program, it is not acceptable to change the content or delete portions of the content. By your acceptance and use of this branded curriculum you should keep the curriculum intact with no revisions or adaptations.

For N.C. Cooperative Extension agents who wish to add participants to the N.C. GAPS Growers Directory on the www.ncmarketready.org Web site, the curriculum as published consists of the “basic minimum” that must be presented for a grower to successfully complete the requirements of Tier 1 and Tier 2.  (Agents: please use the form on the Agents Resources section of Web site.)

The curriculum has been developed and peer reviewed by subject matter experts. If you make changes to the curriculum or delete portions of the content, do not use the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family name and logo, and do not add names to the GAPS Growers Directory. Your adherence to these guidelines helps ensure the programmatic integrity of the N.C. MarketReady brand. It also allows for the consistent and accurate sharing of program information with both internal and external audiences, including funding and industry partners, elected officials and news media outlets.

N.C. Cooperative Extension agents will find tools to help promote the training and track participation (which generates a certificate for all your participants) at http://www.ncmarketready.org . Click on Agents Only at the bottom of the left menu. You will need a Unity ID and password to access this section.  When you arrive in the Agents Only section, click on Fresh Produce Safety, then Educational Curriculum.

  • The Communications Toolkit includes summary excerpts, news releases and fliers in editable PDF format.
  • The Participation Tracking and Certificates section provides an electronic form for you to enter grower information from participants who have completed either Tier 1 or Tier 2. This information will be used for the GAPS Growers Directory, a searchable database to help buyers and others locate producers who have completed the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family GAPs training.  The grower entry includes business name, location, contact information and crops grown.

Guidelines for Use of the Curriculum in States Other Than North Carolina

We receive and welcome requests from other states to use the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family GAPs curriculum.  Because this is a branded program, we specifically request that you use the materials as presented. We understand that presentation styles may vary, and that’s perfectly acceptable. We also are aware that Cooperative Extension agents and other educators often incorporate experiential activities to enhance the curriculum and that, too, is acceptable.  However, because this is a branded program, it is not acceptable to change the content or delete portions of the content. By your acceptance and use of this branded curriculum you should keep the curriculum intact with no revisions or adaptations.

When using the curriculum as developed, you must use the N.C. MarketReady brand on the material.  N.C. MarketReady is a trademarked brand. However, if you adapt the material in any way, we request that you cite N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family GAPs curriculum as a resource.

The following is an acceptable acknowledgment:

N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field to Family GAPs curriculum was used as a resource for this workshop. N.C. MarketReady is a program of N.C. Cooperative Extension.  Learn more at www.ncmarketready.org.

PDF files of the Introduction and all of the PowerPoint Slides can be found below for review.  All modules and supplementary material is available by e-mailing Diane Ducharme, GAPS program coordinator and Extension associate in horticulture and food safety, N.C. Cooperative Extension’s N.C. MarketReady program, at diane_ducharme@ncsu.edu.

INTRODUCTION TO CURRICULUM

MODULE_1

MODULE_2

MODULE_3

MODULE_4

MODULE_5

MODULE_6

MODULE_7

MODULE_8

MODULE_9A- TARGETING EDUCATOR AUDIENCES

MODULE_9B-TARGETING FARMER AUDIENCES

Traceability

Traceability is the new buzz word.  And it is significantly scaring growers .  In NC, we have initiated a two-part study on traceability.  The goal of the first part of this project is to evaluate the status and effectiveness of grower/packer/shipper traceback programs in NC to determine their ability to respond to a traceback investigation and recommend areas for improvement.   This study is lead by Dr. Benjamin Chapman.

The goal of the second part is to develop a pilot study to  analyze the existing traceability systems of three North Carolina produce organizations and to develop guidance for North Carolina growers, packers and shippers on how to implement The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) compliant traceability efficiently and effectively based on three size appropriate templates.   These studies were conducted as a collaborative efforts between Diane Ducharme,  NCSU with the N.C. MarketReady Program  and Andrew Kennedy of FoodLogiQ in 2009 and results have been compiles in a 2-part video.  This project was funded by the USDA Rural Development Fund.

Part 1: Farm to Retail Fresh Produce Traceability Pilot – provides a guide to the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI),  highlights 3 traceability templates that can be utilized for small, medium, and large producers,  as well as an evaluation and cost analysis of these systems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA1MaCMJmpc

Part 2:Pilot 2: provides a look at three (3) scale-diverse organization studied for different perspectives on the PTI implementation, key internal and external challenges encountered, and important economic costs associated with the PTI.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS6UcZIk-6A

To further advance the discussion of whole-chain traceability, the following links might be helpful:

Produce Traceability Initiative

Hearings to review the legal and technical capacity for full traceability in fresh produce

Traceability in the Food Supply Chain– DHHS; Office of Inspector General

Traceability (Product Tracing) in Food Systems: 
An IFT Report Submitted to the FDA, Volume 2: Cost Considerations
and Implications

An Analysis of the First-Order Economic Costs of the 2008 FDA Tomato  Warning*