Food safety trainings planned for farmers

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) product safety compliance dates are fast approaching for farms that grow fruits and vegetables that are commonly eaten raw. Larger farms will be required to undergo initial compliance inspections during the 2019 growing season.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Desert Farming Initiative are partnering to meet industry training needs and provide resources that will help growers and packers comply. Demonstrating best practices in food safety is one of the main objectives of the Desert Farming Initiative. The Desert Farming Initiative is a program of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.

Training workshops are planned in January and February. Topics include general product safety; health, hygiene and training of workers; soil amendments; agricultural water; production and post-harvest; wildlife, domestic animals and land use; post-harvest handling and sanitation; and developing an on-farm food safety plan.

A workshop adapted to the operations necessary for compliance, but open to all, will be held:

  • In Sparks: Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 405 S. 21st St. Food Safety Modernization Act Product Safety Rules Workshop. There is a $15 fee, which includes lunch. There is also an additional optional fee of $35 for a Produce Safety Alliance certificate of class completion.

Workshops for exempt producers, but open to all, will take place:

  • At Elko: Jan. 16, 1-4 p.m., 4780 E. Idaho St., Condensed Food Safety Workshop. There are no fees.
  • In Reno: Feb. 16, time TBD, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, 3800 S. Virginia St., Nevada Farms Conference Food Safety Condensed Session, open to Nevada Farms Conference registrants.

These new regulations were created by the United States Food and Drug Administration to be proactive, helping to prevent contamination on farms and packing facilities. The overall objective of the FSMA Product Safety Rule is to establish a safer food system, including the national food chain, imports and exports, as they are all required to comply with these regulations. More workshops will be announced later this year.

Register for scheduled workshops and future online workshops at the Nevada Department of Agriculture website, http://agri.nv.gov/FSMA/. For more information about the workshops, contact Adriana Marin-Herrera at 775-353-3696 or [email protected]