Online training aims to raise strawberry safety standards | Education


Strawberry growers across the country will have two opportunities to learn more about the safety of their operations and freedom from microbial contamination through free online training hosted by the University’s Agriculture System Division. of Arkansas and the University of Clemson.

The training dates are December 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and January 11, 2022 from 1 to 4 p.m. Registrants can choose either option and do not need to attend both.

“The Agriculture Division and Clemson University have partnered on this alternative program beyond the standard Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) producer trainings to support the specialty strawberry crop industry,” said Amanda Philyaw Perez, extension food security specialist and assistant professor. for the Agriculture Division.

“Participants in these trainings will learn the importance of food safety, various cleaning and sanitizing terms, standard operating procedures for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, as well as documentation and record keeping,” said Rip Weaver, extension program technician for the Agriculture Division. “While these trainings are tailored for strawberry growers, these food safety principles can be applied to all aspects of farming operations. The idea is to create a culture of the farm and food safety with an emphasis on the production of strawberries.

The Faculty of the Division of Agriculture Philyaw Perez and Kristen Gibson, Associate Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology for the Division of Agriculture, together with Angela Fraser, Professor of Food Science at Clemson University, designed the training program. The program is funded through the Competitive Grants Program (FSOP) of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture. This is the first time that this training has been offered

Julia Fryer, program associate in the Agriculture Division, and Natacha Cureau, former postdoctoral fellow in extension, participated in the research upon which the training is based in 2020.

“Strawberry growers across the country were asked what information and training they wanted, and the results revealed that growers wanted more information on disinfection, cleaning, record keeping and documentation. “said Philyaw Perez. “They recognize their knowledge gaps and we aim to help them fill those gaps through these trainings. This workshop is designed to build on knowledge about food safety, especially for the strawberry industry.

The training is intended to supplement, not replace, the general Produce Safety Grower training required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Philyaw Perez and the Product Safety team have led product safety training for farmers in the Arkansas Agriculture Division for the past four years. There is no charge to participate in the training, but registration is mandatory. Participation is limited to 20 per session. Closing of registrations two days before each training. Participants will need Zoom video conferencing software, a webcam, microphone and Internet access to participate. For more information, contact Rip Weaver at [email protected]


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