Workshops offer Arkansas producers food safety education
By Sarah Cato
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Jan. 18, 2019
- Produce Grower Training Workshops will cover food safety rules and regulations
- Register online at www.uaex.uada.edu/Arkansas-produce-safety
- Registration fee is $35
LITTLE ROCK – Food safety has long been an issue in food production. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people get sick and 3,000 people die each year from food-borne illnesses in the United States. To help Arkansas producers stay up to date on food safety precautions and prepare for upcoming regulatory deadlines, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is hosting several spring Produce Grower Training Workshops.
Widespread food safety issues resulted in the Product Safety Rule, established under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, which established standards and requirements for food producers. The workshop series will educate Arkansas producers on these standards and requirements.
All fruit and vegetable growers should receive food safety training and some will be inspected by the Arkansas Agriculture Department starting May 2019. However, this is being implemented in steps. Although smaller-scale growers aren’t required to receive the training until next year, Amanda Philyaw Perez, extension food safety specialist and assistant professor for the Division of Agriculture, suggests getting a head start.
“With news of E. coli and other foodborne contamination, this training is important for farms to prevent those outbreaks from ever starting,” Perez said. “This safety training is being required of most produce farmers. And although farms making between $25,000 and $250,000 in sales won’t have to take this training before 2020, it’s not a bad idea to get this in early.”
Dates and locations for the workshops are:
Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension State Office
2301 S. University Avenue, Little Rock
Independence County Extension Office
1770 Myers Street, Batesville
Best Western Inn of the Ozarks
207 W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs
Topics will include worker health, production water, land use and more. The workshop will cost $35. Those interested can register online at www.uaex.uada.edu/Arkansas-produce-safety.
For more information on food safety, visit www.uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/food-safety.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service