Food safety on fruit and vegetable farms topic of workshops

March 8, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Fruit and vegetable farmers will learn how to keep food on the farm safe at workshops offered this month by Purdue Extension and University of Illinois Extension in two Indiana counties.

The programs will be on March 15 in Parke County, and March 19 and March 23 in Lake County.

The March 15 and March 19 programs will cover basics of good agricultural practices, known as GAPs, for on-farm food safety. Topics will include personal hygiene, water quality and treatment, animal products and manure, sanitation in the field and packing areas, traceability and record-keeping.

"Farmers will learn how to identify risky conditions and practical ways to reduce the risk," said Liz Maynard, Purdue Extension vegetable crops specialist. "Community gardeners who will be donating produce to food banks will also find the information useful."

The March 23 Farm Food Safety Plan Writing Workshop, also in Lake County, will begin with a review of food safety plans, followed by time for participants to write food safety plans tailored to their operations. A food safety plan template and example plans will be provided, and Extension staff will be available to answer questions and assist individuals as they write. Participants may bring their own laptop computer, borrow one from Extension, or write their food safety plan by hand.

Attendance at one of the GAPs programs or a similar program covering the basics of GAPs is required before attending the Farm Food Safety Plan Writing Workshop.

"Getting a food safety plan on paper is useful for any produce farmer," Maynard said. "For those planning a third-party GAP audit, it is essential. Sometimes it's hard to know where to start. We'll get you started, and by the end of the day you'll be a good way toward a completed written plan."

The March 15 program will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Eastern time) at the Parke County Extension office on the 4-H Fairgrounds at 1472 N. U.S. 41, Rockville. Registration deadline is March 12 and is limited to the first 50 producers. Call 765-569-3176 for more information.

Programs on March 19 and March 23 will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Central time) at the Purdue Extension office in Crown Point at 880 E. 99th Court, Suite A. Registration is $50 per business for both days, $30 per business for one day and $10 for each additional person from the business. Registration deadline for this workshop also is March 12.

A registration form for the Lake County workshops is available at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/fruitveg/events/GAPS_Flyer_LakeCounty_spring2012final.pdf

For more information or to request a registration form, contact Maynard at 219-531-4200, ext. 4206, or by email at emaynard@purdue.edu
     
     
Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Source: Liz Maynard, 219-531-4200, ext. 4206, emaynard@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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