July 11, 2014
GALLIPOLIS — A program about preventing microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms will be 6-9 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Gallia County Extension Office, 111 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis.
Food safety and good agricultural practices, or GAPS, for fruit and vegetable production will be the focus.
“The Food and Drug Administration has released the draft standards for safe production and harvest of fruits and vegetables as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and will release a revised set of standards this year” said Lindsey Hoover of Ohio State University’s fruit and vegetable safety team, the program’s sponsor. “Whether or not a farm will be exempt from these rules, all growers are responsible for providing safe produce to their consumers.”
Ohio State University Extension educators present the three-hour program. Participants will receive a record-keeping binder and a certificate of participation as verification to customers that the farm operator has received training in GAPs.
But Hoover said attendees won’t actually become “certified in GAPS” by taking the course. That certification comes only through having one of many possible farm audits conducted by USDA or a third-party company.
“Find out what your farmers’ market or buyers require. Some may be satisfied with just a class on GAPs, others may require the full food safety farm plan and audit, or both,” she said.
Hoover said many large grocery chains require produce suppliers to have full food safety plans and audits. For small farms selling at stands and markets, Hoover said learning about GAPs at the OSU three-hour course is a good way to stay competitive.
Contact the Jeff Moore to reserve a spot by calling (740) 446-7007 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-registration is required and due by Aug. 6. Registration is $20 per person, payable by cash or check, with checks made out to “Ohio State University.”
The registration cost of $20 is thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Program, which helps to cover the costs of the program.
More information can be found at www.producesafety.osu.edu.