2010-2011 N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Curriculum Trainings

In order to help agents as they present the N.C. MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety Curriculum trainings, I have created a cumulative summary of classes.    Please let me know if I have missed any or need to add any trainings.

Latest updates can be found on NC MarketReady Website, under Trainings & Events

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* 

Good Agricultural Practices Fresh Produce Safety Plan for Field Practices Template

Funding for the development of this publication was made possible through the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

This document was developed in workshops with North Carolina growers to provide a framework for them to develop their own food safety plans. Each grower’s conditions are different. Some may find that the plan does not adequately address their specific conditions. In those cases, the plan will need to be supplemented.

Developing a food safety plan requires knowledge of farming practices and best management practices training. Don’t be afraid to consult with experts on your plan. Before attempting to develop a plan, growers should obtain training in Good Agricultural Practices offered by the NC Cooperative Extension or government and trade organizations. Remember, this is just the written plan. The most important part is implementing, checking, correcting, and documenting the activities.

This plan follows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Guide To Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (October 1998) and the USDA Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices Audit Verification Matrix (May 11, 2007).  

The template plan is available electronically as a printable guide (pdf) or an editable document (MS Word).  The core of the plan encompasses 26 pages, with the additional 39 pages of appendices provide a comprehensive resource for the verifying documentation that might be needed.  Each growers will be able to download the sample word document and “pic n’ choose” from the template as needed.

Printable Template Guide (pdf)  AG-718W_N.C

Food Safety Plan Template (editable word document)

The Document includes:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Page
Introduction and General Guidelines (Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)) 6
Facility Map Overview (Actual Maps contained in Appendix I) 8
SOP 1.0 Worker Health, Hygiene, and Field Sanitation (includes Spanish version) 9
SOP 2.0 Water Usage 13
SOP 3.0 Sewage Treatment and Soils 15
SOP 5.0 Pesticide Usage 17
SOP 6.0 Animal/Wildlife 19
SOP 7.0 Manure and Biosolids Usage 21
SOP 8.0 Field Harvest/Pack and Transportation 23
SOP 11.0 Traceability 25
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Please post comment or contact Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu if you have any questions.

Fresh Produce Safety Legislative Coming..

Bills have been introduced to both the House and Senate this past year.

The NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, Working Group #3 ( made up primarily of growers and respective supporting agriculture and marketing industries) is currently working on getting the word out and getting feedback from representative groups.    This group is co-chaired by Debbie Hamrick, NC Farm Bureau, and Ben Chapman, NCSU.  A special thank you to Debbie Hamrick and Jake Parker of the NC Farm Bureau for providing some of the amendment documentation below.

In order to better understand the bill introduced, I have posted the website below with instruction on how to access the respective bills.
The website to use is: http://thomas.loc.gov/.

Search under the “Bill Number” in the middle column.  Use the search names of S 510 and H 2749.

Once that page comes up, click on the “Text of Legislation”.  You will want the text from the “Reported” file or the “Engrossed As Agreed”.

House Bill 2749 – Food Safety enhancement Act of 2009.  This bill passed in the House in July 2009.    Please look through bill but big headers to look for include:  USDA Exemptions, Annual Registration of Food Facilities, Facility registration fee, Hazard analysis, risk-based preventive controls, food safety plan, finished product test results, traceability of food, importers of food.
Senate Bill 510 – FDA Food Safety Modernization Act .  This bill is in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee were amendments to the bill are being considered.    Several of the amendments include food tracing systems, nutrition claims made on baby formula, and food labeling.  Others might include the Harkin substitute amendment and 3 others, two of which are offered by Senator Burr.  The Senate version of the bill is less invasive but will still be a regulation.  Please again look at the bill in entirety but specifically in the same headers as mentioned above in the House bill.

2010 S510 Amendfoodsafety10a 0212

Growing Safe Food Act _StabenowAmend- FINAL

Senator Tester’s Support Letter Amend-S510-May-25

Of course, more information on Fresh Produce Safety can be found on www.ncmarketready.org, click on “Fresh Produce Safety” on l-hand column.

Economic Costs of GAPs and Insurance Options for Fresh Produce Growers

Of course, this  is the big question.    One of our specialists, Rod Rejesus attacked this venue with two publications.

This publication weighs the economic costs against the benefits of adopting GAPs certification. GAPs Certification: Is it worth it?

As foodborne illness outbreaks are on the rise, growers are faced with increasing risk of economic loss. This paper investigates the insurance options against economic loss that could help growers to safeguard their business operations. Insurance Coverage Options for Fresh Produce Growers

Microbial Testing Labs

Part of creating a food safety program is developing the supporting documentation.  An essential tool to incorporate into your program is the use of microbial testing.  Microbial testing can measure the effectiveness of your proactive food safety program.  It is not meant to be used as a standalone tool, retrospectively incorporated.

Here are some articles on the use of microbial testing

Post-Harvest Food Safety Risk Reduction – H. Russell Cross

Guidance for Industry: Sampling and Microbial Testing of Spent Irrigation Water During Sprout Production

Microbial Testing of Spent Irrigation Water in Sprouts

I will be adding to this list as time goes on.

Growers will already be asking for help in finding labs that can support their programs of testing.  To this end, I have included a list of labs known currently to offer these services.

Food Testing Labs

NC Agents Trained Across the State

Three regional train-the-trainer workshops were held in fall 2008 and spring 2009.  From these trainings, agents across the state were trained on the new NC MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety – Field To Family Curriculum.  By November, each county was mailed a 3-ring notebook with the corresponding jumpdrive of the curriculum, a marketing toolkit, and 3 representative videos.    As trained agents start offering classes, it might be helpful to see the other agents trained in your respective districts.

NorthCentralDistrict

NortheastDistrict

SouthCentralDistrict

SoutheastDistrict

WestCentralDistrict

WestDistrict

New USDA undersecretary of food safety nominated

USA Today is reporting that Elisabeth Hagen, current USDA chief medical officer, has been nominated for the post of undersecretary for food safety (also USDA). Hagen will serve with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who was quoted as saying “There is no more fundamental function of government than protecting consumers from harm, which is why food safety is one of USDA’s top priorities.” For more information check out the USA Today article here.

Growers Kits for Agent to Use in Trainings

This is a tool developed to help growers with some of the necessary supplies that they need in their own farm food safety programs.  I have a limited supply and so these are available on a first-come basis.

The kit includes :

Fingernail brush
GlowGerm
Blacklight
Chlorine Strips Kit
pH Test Strips
Nitrile Gloves
Waterproof Thermometer
Handwashing Posters and Toilet Use