UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania produce growers, food processors and animal-feed producers navigating the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have new educational resources to help them determine what their farms and businesses must do to comply with new regulations.
Penn State Extension recently launched a new FSMA information website, extension.psu.edu/fsma, and will be organizing several FSMA educational workshops throughout the state during 2017.
Over the next several years, the Food and Drug Administration will begin enforcing the mandated food-safety activities and record-keeping requirements outlined in the law, passed by Congress in 2011.
FSMA establishes regulatory practices that produce farmers, food processors and feed manufacturers must adopt to prevent contamination of fresh produce, and processed and manufactured human foods and animal feeds.
The act includes seven regulations, and current Penn State Extension resources focus on three that will significantly impact Pennsylvania’s growers, distributors and processors: the Produce Safety Rule, the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule and the Preventive Controls for Animal Feed Rule.
Penn State Extension’s food-safety educators are helping the food and feed industries interpret and implement the new FSMA regulations by offering a wide array of food-safety programs.
Penn State Extension’s new Food Safety Modernization Act website features educational videos designed to help growers and processors understand the FSMA law, identify which rule(s) may affect their operations and determine whether or not they might qualify for one of the rule exemptions that apply to certain smaller-sized growers or processors.
Website visitors can also identify and communicate with educators and food safety experts.
Online news updates and articles about FSMA will be posted to the site as well as other educational materials.
The FSMA website also includes details for several upcoming workshops for 2017 that include official FSMA grower certification trainings and farm food-safety plan writing sessions.
Three FSMA Produce Grower Certification trainings will be offered to Pennsylvania produce growers at a reduced rate.
On Jan. 30, Penn State Extension will offer an official FSMA Produce Grower Certification Training session at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey.
FSMA certifications will also be held in Butler County Feb. 21 and in Bedford County March 24.
Farm Food-Safety Plan Writing workshops for growers will be held in Lebanon County Feb. 9, in Butler County March 7, and in Bedford County March 31.
Complete event details will be posted on the FSMA website as they become available. Online registration is encouraged; alternatively, call 814-445-8911 to register during normal business hours.
Penn State Extension also holds Preventive Controls for Human Foods courses for food processors covered under the Preventive Controls Rule.
One training, specifically for dairy food processors, is scheduled Feb. 21-23 at University Park, and another course for all types of food processing is March 21-23 in Malvern.
Online registration is required for these workshops. Additional training programs and details will be announced on the website.
Participants will be eligible to earn a completion certificate to satisfy related FSMA training requirements. Preregistration is required for all classes.