DEVELOPING RELEVANT EXTENSION PROGRAMS FOR VEGETABLE FARMERS IN FOOD SAFETY
Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety- Fresh Produce
North Carolina State University
The requirements for successfully completing third party food safety audits are constantly changing for fruit and vegetable growers. Over the last five years, approximately 150 farmers in Northeast Florida were trained to develop a food safety manual for their operation. This program allowed farmers to learn how to implement their own plans without the expense of hiring a consultant. However, as the requirements from buyers and auditing companies changed, new educational programs needed to be developed. These changes have included: developing a food safety program based on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) not just a standard Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit, having HACCP trained staff while packing houses are in operation and refining programs for product recall and crisis management. In the past two years, Extension agents have provided leadership and partnered with key industry representatives and grower associations to provide six advanced food safety trainings. Through this process, Extension agents have emerged as leaders in providing the necessary training and certification to meet the ever changing needs. A total of 125 farmers, industry partners and Extension agents have attended these trainings. In addition, Extension agents have worked directly with farmers on their farm to help them implement their food safety plans. Through this sustained effort, 100% of the farmers that have needed a third party audit have passed. Furthermore, the industry as a whole has significantly raised the level of expertise in the area of food safety and now consider these practices a routine part of their business.
Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC
This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.
A poster file has not been provided
Authors: E.M. Toro, R.C. Hochmuth, D.K. Fenneman, A. Gazula, S.R. McCoy
Toro, E. Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County, Florida, 32064
Hochmuth, R. Multi-County Vegetable Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee Valley, Florida, 32060
Fenneman, D. Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Madison County, Florida, 32340
Gazula, A. Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County, Florida, 32609
McCoy, S. Regional Specialized Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee Valley, Florida, 32060