On-farm food safety readiness review under development

CHICAGO - Barbara Glenn says state departments of agriculture are striving to help growers prepare for the produce safety rule, and one of those ways will be an on-farm readiness review.

Glenn, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, spoke Aug. 26 at the U.S. Apple Association Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference. Before beginning her speech, she commended the work of the U.S. Apple Association in Washington D.C. for their work in advocating for apple growers.

She said the on-farm readiness review is a concept that NASDA developed with FDA that allows growers to receive a pre-assessment of how they stand in terms of produce safety rule compliance.

"We developed this FDA and we worked to pull in educators, extension (staff) from land grant universities, the Produce Safety Alliance and NASDA officials.
The review has been developed in part with help from officials from Michigan, North Carolina, Vermont and Florida. The program was piloted last week in Michigan with successful results, she said.

She said the on-farm readiness was equipped with a 180-page document with all the regulated requirements for the produce safety rule in it. "We are now taking it and morphing it into a grower friendly checklist," she said. The program will divide growing, preharvest, harvest and post-harvest activities.

The review is expected to be done in conjunction with extension officials not with regulators from the state departments of agriculture. "What we want is a consistent message and that's why we are developing a manual and a list that needs to be consistent across all 50 states," she said. The Produce Safety Alliance has been taking a leadership role in developing the review.

She said there are expectations the on-farm readiness review would be ready to go for national rollout by August 2017.