Program Teaches Produce Safety

Program Teaches Produce Safety

New standards for safe production and handling of fruits and vegetables is prompting OSU to offer this session for produce growers.

Ohio State University's Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team will hold a program on preventing microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms from 1-4 p.m. on April 17 at the Knox County office of Ohio State University Extension, 1025 Harcourt Road, in Mount Vernon.

Good Agricultural Practices, or GAPs, for fruit and vegetable production are the focus.

Experts from OSU Extension will be the instructors.

"The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year," says the team's Ashley Kulhanek. "So it's a good time to learn about GAPs."

Program Teaches Produce Safety

Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and a certificate of participation but won't actually become "certified in GAPs" by taking the course, Kulhanek said. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.

"The program can help prepare you for an audit, but find out if your customers are asking for education in GAPs, if they actually want an audit certificate, or both," Kulhanek said.

The course also can serve as the required yearly attendance in a comprehensive GAPs class for participants in the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement.

Call the Knox County Extension office at 740-397-0401 to reserve a place in the program. Registration costs $10 per person and is paid at the door by cash or check, with checks made out to "OSP."

The registration cost is lower than it was for similar programs last year, Kulhanek said, thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

For more information, call 330-202-3555, ext. 2918.

The program also will be offered April 11 in Piketon, April 12 in Morgan County, April 14 in Canfield in Mahoning County and April 27 in Wooster.

For more information, call 330-202-3555, ext. 2918.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

TAGS: Regulatory
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