ITHACA, N.Y. — A new public-private organization at Cornell will provide produce growers and packagers with fundamental, on-farm food safety knowledge, in advance of a proposed produce safety regulation.
The new Produce Safety Alliance is a three-year, $1.15 million partnership funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. It will be housed at Cornell through a grant from AMS.
Cornell’s national Good Agricultural Practices program has been a leader in the development of materials on GAPs, says the FDA, and in its dissemination of food safety knowledge to the agricultural community.
Key elements of the alliance’s work include:
Developing a standardized, but multiformatted and multilingual education program on GAPs and co-management;
Creating an information bank of up-to-date scientific and technical information related to on-farm and packinghouse produce safety, environmental co-management and eventually the FDA’s proposed produce safety rule;
Launching a website to make the alliance’s work and information readily accessible;
Establishing a network of educational collaborators;
Conducting an assessment of existing educational outreach tools to identify knowledge gaps and to provide for continuous updating; and
Working with partners on the steering committee and others to develop and deliver train-the-trainer materials and sessions.
In 2011 the FDA is expected to issue a proposed rule on the safe production, harvesting and packing of produce. The alliance is aimed at giving produce growers and packers training and educational materials and opportunities to learn about current risk- and science-based best food safety practices, and future regulatory requirements.
The alliance will have representatives from the Association of Food and Drug Officials, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, land-grant universities, growers and shippers, produce trade organizations and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, joining FDA, AMS and Cornell officials on the alliance’s steering committee.