Over a dozen growers from across Georgia and the greater Southeast came together at the 21st annual Georgia Organics Conference to attend the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training. This training satisfied part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety (§ 112.22(c)) compliance requirements. Grower training participants took an in-depth look at food safety on the farm, wildlife management, and the importance of hosting safety trainings for employees.
FSMA trainings are a large investment in time and money for farmers. Trainings can last at minimum eight hours and cost upwards of $100. Nonetheless, farmers are now beginning to see the benefits of on-farm food safety and good agricultural practices as important risk management strategies and business development tools. Farmers exempt from the FSMA Produce Safety Rule can even expect wholesale buyers, educational institutions, and some farmers markets to demand food safety plans, recall procedures, records, and more.
“There was a time when our food safety workshops were only attracting five, maybe 10 growers, and that was very disheartening to see because on-farm food safety is so important,” says Georgia Organics Director of Farmer Services Michael Wall. “It’s good to see that is not the case anymore. Farmers across the state now know that food safety is a big deal and needs our attention, thanks to all our partners, especially Global Growers and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association for helping us conduct more food safety trainings throughout the state.”
Generous funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture have enabled us to host several PSA Grower and Food Safety Trainings at no cost to farmers. Read more about our upcoming trainings here, and look for PSA trainings in your areas here.