Growing demand for local, distinctive foods has increased local food market opportunities in WV. However, policies such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and produce-related foodborne illness outbreaks have raised concerns among consumers and producers alike about the safety of directly-marketed produce. For producers to stay well-positioned in the local food movement, they must understand state and federal food safety regulations, buyers’ demands, and consumers’ expectations, and comply with these requirements in a cost-effective manner. Failure of local food-systems stakeholders to be proactive in food safety education will result in increased vulnerability to food safety liability, loss of lucrative markets because of non-compliance, or cause producers to exit the industry because of anxiety over the issue.
The WV Food Safety Training Initiative represents an inter-agency and cross-disciplinary partnership, to deliver a 'one-stop-shop' for food-safety training and producer assistance, necessary to grow the local food economy. Since 2016, we have trained 250 producers in two critical areas: best management practices in food safety compliance; and integrating these recommendations into a holistic farm food-safety plan, designed for whole-farm planning and comprehensive risk-mitigation, and 3rd party audits.
This presentation discusses four main aspects of the ‘WV Food Safety Training Initiative’: priority areas addressed and risk-management tools recommended; key partnerships that made this project a success; notable project outcomes and impacts; and challenges producers faced in food safety compliance. This information can be used by other agricultural service providers to help their respective target audiences adopt a holistic food safety risk management paradigm.
|Conference||2019 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|