The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Maryland will conduct an advanced food safety training workshop
An Advanced Food Safety Training workshop focused about fruit and vegetable production and packing practices will start on Wednesday, April 23, from 9 am to 4 pm at MDA Headquarters, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis. Registration check-in begins at 8:30 am. The training fee is $25 and includes lunch and materials. For a registration form, see ‘Hot Topics’ on MDA’s website www.mda.maryland.gov.
This workshop is intended for growers who have previously attended a basic Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training or who are currently GAP-certified. Emphasis will be placed on Good Handling Practices (harvest and packing), sanitation, proper record-keeping, environmental pathogen testing, and traceability.
An optional afternoon session will help producers write their own food safety plans. Growers who have started a plan may bring a paper or electronic version for assistance. Producers are encouraged to bring their own laptops. Laptops will be provided to those who cannot bring them.
Topics to be covered include: postharvest practices to minimize microbial contamination, packinghouse sanitation, traceability, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act and current FDA authorities, record-keeping, addressing pre-harvest and post-harvest water quality issues, environmental testing for bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes, writing a food safety plan, and MDA/University of Maryland programs to assist producers in implementing GAP and GHP. This training will satisfy continual education requirements for growers certified to the Harmonized GAP standards.
For more information, contact Sherry Weygant at 410-841-5769 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: MDA offers two GAP certification programs for fruit and vegetable producers. Nationally recognized USDA GAP/GHP and USDA Harmonized GAP pre-harvest and post-harvest certification is provided through a cooperative agreement with USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service and meets the requirements of many wholesale buyers. USDA specialty crop grant funding is available for cost share of the USDA audit fees. MDA GAP certification is geared toward direct marketers or others that want to start with a basic food safety program, and is available to Maryland fruit and vegetable producers at no cost. For more information on these programs, contact Deanna Baldwin with MDA at Deanna.email@example.com or 410-841-5769; or Donna Pahl with University of Maryland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-405-4372.
To learn more about MDA’s Good Agricultural Practices Program, visit: http://mda.maryland.gov/foodfeedquality/Pages/good_ag_practices.aspx