PSA Grower Training
Alongside the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Clemson Extension will be hosting Produce Safety Rule Grower Trainings throughout the State. The Grower Training Course was developed by the Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell University, so that farms will be able to comply with the new requirements outlined in the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). Contained in FSMA is the Final Rule on Produce Safety. This rule establishes unprecedented, science-based standards for the farming of fruits and vegetables that are intended for human consumption.
Who Should Attend
Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’
What to Expect at the PSA Grower Training Course
The trainers will spend approximately seven hours of instruction time covering content contained in these seven modules:
- Introduction to Produce Safety
- Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
- Soil Amendments
- Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
- Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water)
- Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
- How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan
In addition to learning about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements are outlined within each module. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.
Benefits of Attending the Course
The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of:
- Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm
- How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm
- Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one
- Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.
After attending the entire course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course. To receive an AFDO certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course.
For more information about scheduled PSA Grower Training Courses, please visit the PSA website at http://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu.
Funding for this statement, publication, press release, etc. was made possible in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States.
Compliance with Final Rule on Produce Safety
All farms are required to follow the guidelines within the Produce Safety Rule as well as have at least one supervisor or responsible party of the farm. By attending and completing the Grower Training course you will learn how to comply with the regulations, and will also be complying with the requirement to have a supervisor with approved produce safety training. Farms of different sizes will have different compliance dates, which are generally outlined here:
- Very small businesses, those with more than $25,000 but no more than $250,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: January 27, 2020
- Small businesses, those with more than $250,000 but no more than $500,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period: January 28, 2019
- All other farms: January 26, 2018
- Farms with less than $25,000 in average annual produce sales during the previous three year period may qualify for an exemption. For additional information or to apply for an exemption, please visit the SCDA Exemption website at https://agriculture.sc.gov/divisions/consumer-protection/produce-safety/exemption/
For questions or information about scheduled trainings in South Carolina, please contact Chad Carter, Clemson Extension Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Coordinator at (843)730-5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for scheduled trainings can be found under the “Scheduled Classes” tab to the left.