Online workshops set for fruit and vegetable growers for produce safety training

Fruits and Vegetables

Missouri fruit and vegetable growers can enroll in upcoming no-cost or low-cost online produce safety training.

Webinar topics include creating a food safety plan for USDA Good Agricultural Practices certification, Food Safety Modernization Act training, produce safety best practices, and wildlife control for produce growers, said Londa Nwadike, an extension associate professor of food safety for the University of Missouri and Kansas State University.

In addition to the webinars, MU Extension and the Missouri Department of Agriculture can provide a free On-Farm Readiness Review to produce growers, Nwadike said. MU Extension also continues to provide free microbial water testing to produce growers and currently has cost-share funding for growers interested in GAP certification.

“We can also provide general technical assistance in produce safety to growers,” she said.

Upcoming webinars

  • Feb. 24 OR April 21, 3-5 p.m. – Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) food safety plan.
  • March 18 AND 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Alliance training.
  • March 24, 6-7 p.m. – Wildlife control for produce growers.
  • May 10, 3-5 p.m. – Introduction to produce safety and post-harvest handling.

A full list of upcoming training is available at THIS LINK.

Nwadike said the workshops and other resources are available to produce growers through funding from various sources, including the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Missouri and Kansas departments of agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration.

“These efforts have helped hard-working produce growers understand the FSMA produce safety rule and incorporate these requirements into their production system to ensure they are providing safe, healthful food for consumers,” Nwadike said.

“I can’t say enough good about the FSMA training,” said Alicia Ellingsworth, co-founder and executive director of the KC Farm School. Three members of her staff attended an earlier FSMA Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) training jointly organized by MU and Kansas State. “Our staff so much appreciated it,” Ellingsworth said. “Not a day goes by that a couple of people don’t say how much they learned or reference the training for some reason or another.”

For more information about produce safety workshops in Kansas or Missouri, contact Nwadike at 913-307-7391 or [email protected], or MU Extension horticulture specialist Patrick Byers at [email protected].