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Food safety trainings scheduled for farmers

Posted 1/14/2019

Freshly harvested produce including carrots in a basket

The workshops will help prevent contamination of freshly grown produce, such as these grown by the Desert Farming Initiative. Photo by Jill Moe.

Workshops offered ahead of compliance inspections for Nevada farms

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule compliance dates are quickly approaching for farms that grow fruits and vegetables commonly consumed raw. Large farms will be required to undergo initial compliance inspections during the 2019 growing season.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Desert Farming Initiative are teaming up to address industry training needs and provide resources that will assist growers and packers with achieving compliance. Demonstrating best practices in food safety is one of the Desert Farming Initiative’s major focuses. The Desert Farming Initiative is a program of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.

Training workshops are scheduled in January and February. Topics include general produce safety; worker health, hygiene and training; soil amendments; agricultural water; production and postharvest; wildlife, domesticated animals and land use; postharvest handling and sanitation; and developing a farm food safety plan.

A workshop geared for operations required to comply, but open to all, will be held:

  • In Sparks: Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m., at 405 S. 21st St., Full Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule Workshop. There is a $15 fee, which includes lunch. There is also an additional optional fee for $35 for a Produce Safety Alliance certificate verifying class completion.

Workshops geared for exempt growers, but open to all, will be held:

  • In Elko: Jan. 16, 1 — 4 p.m., at 4780 E. Idaho St., Condensed Food Safety Workshop. There is no fee.
  • In Reno: Feb. 16, time TBD, at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 S. Virginia St., Nevada Farms Conference Condensed Food Safety Session, open to registrants of the Nevada Farms Conference.

These new regulations were created by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be proactive, helping to prevent contamination on farms and at packing facilities. The overall goal of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule is to establish a more secure food system, including the domestic food chain, imports and exports, as they are all required to comply with these regulations. More workshops will be announced later this year.

Register for the scheduled workshops and future workshops online at the Nevada Department of Agriculture website. For more information on the workshops, contact Adriana Marin-Herrera at 775-353-3696 or amarin-herrera@agri.nv.gov.

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