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June 19, 2013

Webinar series to cover fruit, vegetable food safety

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension online workshops will help fruit and vegetable farmers meet food safety regulations should they want to sell their products to operations other than directly to consumers such as restaurants, wholesalers and food hubs.

The webinar series "Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z" will be held on Wednesday evenings in mid-July at several locations in Indiana. It will include sessions on health and hygiene, water quality and treatment, animals and animal products, sanitation on the farm, documentation and recordkeeping, and farm food safety plans.

"While providing fresh fruits and vegetables that are healthful has always been the goal and responsibility of the farmer who produces them, recent regulatory changes by the Indiana State Health Department now require an additional level of accountability for farmers wishing to sell to others than the end consumer," said Jodee Ellett, Purdue Extension's local foods coordinator.

She noted that farmers now wishing to sell to restaurants, brokers, wholesalers, food hubs and some auctions will be required to not only register with the state as a wholesale fruit and vegetable wholesaler but also show proof of knowledge of food safety Good Agricultural Practices, known in the industry as GAPs. Attending "Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z" will meet this requirement of the new regulations.

The target audience is current and prospective fruit and vegetable farmers, market gardeners, and managers of community gardens that distribute produce to the public. The program is especially for those who wish to sell to others than directly to the end consumer.

The workshop's goal is to present current science-based information on how to reduce the risk of contamination during production of fruits and vegetables, as well as provide practical knowledge on planning and documenting food safety practices from planting through marketing.

The workshop webinars will be held July 10, 17 and 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT at the following sites:

* Grant County, Ivy Tech Community Rooms 164 and165, 261 S. Commerce Drive, Marion. Contact: John Woodmansee, jwoodman@purdue.edu, 765-651-2413.

* Hancock County Extension Office, 802 N. Apple St., Greenfield. Contact: Roy Ballard, rballard@purdue.edu, 317-462-1113.

* Johnson County Fairgrounds Education Room, 484 N. Morton St.; Franklin. Contact: Sarah Speedy, sspeedy@purdue.edu, 317-736-3724.

* Lake County Extension Office, 880 East 99th Court, Suite A, Crown Point. Contact: Nicole Witkowsky, nikky@purdue.edu, 219-755-3240.

* Monroe County Extension Office, 3400 S. Walnut St., Bloomington. Contact: Amy Thompson, afthompson@purdue.edu, 812-349-2575.

* Hendricks and Morgan County, Hoosier Organic Marketing Education, 8370 S State Route 39, Clayton. Contact: Cissy Bowman, cvof@earthlink.net, 317-539-2753.

Those interested in attending, needing special accommodations or having questions should contact Ellett by email at jellett@purdue.edu  or their county host contact noted above.

Registration, due by July 5, costs $30 per person and $10 for each additional person from the same farm. Participation at a hosted site is required at all three sessions to receive a certificate of attendance. Those who would like to join from another location with high-speed Internet connection can do so at no charge.

Participants can register online or download a registration form at https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/fruitveg/Pages/default.aspx

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Source: Jodee Ellett, 765-494-0349, jellett@purdue.edu

Related website:

Purdue Extension: http://www.extension.purdue.edu/

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