Online produce safety workshops available
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will offer online produce safety training workshops to educate fruit and vegetable producers about new rules for protecting the food supply.
Two online workshops will be offered from 8 a.m to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 10-11 and again March 31-April 1. Participants can register at www.uaex.edu/producesafety. Registration closes seven days before each training so that materials can be mailed to participants. The registration deadlines are Feb. 3 for the first training and March 13 for the second.
“Health is more important than ever, and food safety starts on the farm,” said Dr. Amanda Philyaw Perez, extension Food Systems and Safety specialist for the Division of Agriculture, who leads the training. “Implementing good agricultural practices learned in this training can help fruit and vegetable producers guard against the spread of the coronavirus as well.”
Topics covered will include agricultural water, soil amendments, worker health and hygiene, wildlife management, post-harvest handling and food safety plans.
The training, developed by the Produce Safety Alliance and presented by the Cooperative Extension Service, helps growers understand regulatory requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, which regulates standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce.
Participants will receive a certificate of completion, which satisfies the Produce Safety Rule training requirement. Participants must be present both days of the training and must have Internet access, Zoom video conferencing software, a web camera and a microphone.
Typically, extension offers in-person training at sites across Arkansas.
“We started offering the online workshops in response to COVID-19, and we will continue providing these trainings online until the number of COVID cases is more under control,” Perez said.
No in-person training is scheduled at this time, she said. For more information, contact Perez at 501-671-2228.