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Conference Name Farm Food Safety: Training an Angry Mob

Robert Hadad


Training farmers on topics they aren’t interested in being pushed on them by outside forces making them alter or add to their busy days with little immediate appreciable compensation is challenging to say the least. This has been my experience with introducing farm food safety training to farmers over the last 8 years. My first NECRME project assisted growers in developing produce safety plans, gaining competency in GAPs, and prepared some to obtain certification.

This project used two-day classroom trainings. Day one covered the details of GAPs for reducing microbial contamination. Day- two used had farmers using our template to create their safety plan. Later in the season we had an on-farm “mock” inspection taking farmers through the steps for GAPs compliance.

My newly funded project focuses on water/ post-harvest training. An entire season of safe production practice can go out with the wash water is if improper post-harvest safety steps are not taken with water. Due to the 2011 listeria cantaloupe contamination event killing 34 there is now a huge emphasis on post-harvest handling, wash water, and sanitizing issues.

My presentation will cover the educational approach to our trainings, the attitudes of farmers, the outcomes to date, and evaluation of the financial cost vs. financial gain. In mid-December, I attended the first two-day session training the trainer for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). With this certification, I can now provide the training to farmers. I will include how we will incorporate the new FSMA national curriculum into our training.