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Colorado Produce Safety News

April 1, 2022

In this issue:
  • Webinar on Environmental Monitoring
  • Cyclospora Resources
  • On-Farm Readiness Reviews
  • PSA Grower Training Courses
  • Proposed Agricultural Water Standard - Ag Water Assessment Builder
  • More News from FDA
  • CO Produce Safety Program Updates

|| Resources & Information ||

CONTACT Produce Safety Webinar Series

 
Tales from the Trenches: Building and Implementing Effective Environmental Monitoring Programs
This webinar will feature content to help build and implement effective environmental monitoring programs (EMPs) including reasons for EMPs, identification of hazards, likelihood of occurrence (risk), sampling, and corrective actions. Plus, the speakers have combed the literature to summarize “notes from the field” … what do the data show, and how can we use it; as well as a case study featuring sanitation research performed directly to address industry needs.

Webinar date and time: April 14, 2022, from 1:30pm-3:00pm Mountain. Register in advance for this webinar: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uKN-juA5RXeFzNf4SctHhg.

Cyclospora Resources
 

The International Fresh Produce Association notes that improvements in clinical diagnostics have revealed that the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis sickens approximately 125,000-190,000 Americans each year, with outbreaks generally attributed to fresh produce vehicles.

Once considered a "tropical" parasite, Cyclospora has now been detected in several produce items grown in the United States, and FDA has vocally encouraged growers to take risk mitigation measures as appropriate. However, there are no known mitigation measures, and the approaches used by the produce industry to manage other pathogens do not work for Cyclospora.

Additionally, the current inability to grow the organism in the laboratory limits the ability for researchers to provide answers, curbing the availability of commercial test methods. This presents a dilemma for producers when the marketplace, public and regulators seek assurance that the pathogen is being controlled. See this technical bulletin for more information.

|| Education & Training ||


Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

 

There are several options for taking the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training. Please see the methods below and choose the option that works best for you. 
 
Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course
Offered by the Produce Safety Alliance as a three-week course that can be completed at your own pace. The online course is expected to take 15-30 hours for successful completion. Find online training options here.


Remote Delivery Course 

The same course CSU Extension has been offering but taught by educators in other states in real time. Instructors use video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Webex. This is a temporary option that is being supported during the COVID-19 outbreak. Find remote training options here.


On-Farm Readiness Reviews

 

An On‐Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is a voluntary farm visit to conduct a non‐regulatory, confidential assessment of
a farm’s food safety practices and readiness for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce
Safety Rule.
 
This is an opportunity for you as a grower to:
  • Learn how your on‐farm food safety practices align with the Produce Safety Rule
  • Have a one‐on‐one discussion and walk‐through of your farm practices with a Produce Safety Rule expert
  • Gain feedback from an external set of eyes looking at food safety practices and assessing potential risks
We will be conducting on-farm readiness reviews in May and June!

For more information or to schedule a visit to your farm, contact Martha Sullins at 970-491-3330 or Martha.Sullins@colostate.edu.

|| News ||

Proposed Changes to Agricultural Water Requirements in the Produce Safety Rule


On December 2, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a proposed rule that aims to enhance the safety of produce. It proposes to require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that would help them identify and mitigate hazards in water used to grow produce. This is the latest step in the agency’s implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and it proposes to replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). The FDA is proposing a revision to Subpart E. View the proposed standard here.

Comments and feedback can be submitted online. The comment period is open until April 5, 2022. Growers, educators, regulators, and others are all encouraged to submit feedback.


UPDATES AND NEW RESOURCES:
On March 21, the FDA released a new user-friendly online Agricultural Water Assessment Builder to help farms understand the proposed requirements for an agricultural water assessment in the Agricultural Water Proposed Rule. Use of the tool is optional. If finalized, the proposed rule would require farms to conduct systems-based agricultural water assessments to determine and guide appropriate measures to minimize potential risks associated with pre-harvest agricultural water. The Agricultural Water Assessment Builder prompts users to answer questions and/or fill in information specific to their farms. Information entered into the tool is not shared with the FDA and will not be saved.

Check out this webinar from the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association to get an overview of the proposed rule:
https://youtu.be/68DQ0q4swk0.

 

Additional Updates:

Flexibility to Farms Regarding Eligibility for the Qualified Exemption Under the Produce Safety Rule: 

The temporary policy guidance issued in May 2020 provides flexibility regarding eligibility criteria for the qualified exemption under the Produce Safety Rule during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Specifically, farms that are currently eligible for the qualified exemption and associated modified requirements will still be considered eligible, even if they shift sales away from qualified end-users, so long as they continue to meet the requirement that their average food sales during the previous three years total less than $500,000 (adjusted for inflation). This policy is intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 

Colorado Produce Safety Rule Program Updates


Registration for the 2022 Growing Season
It is not too late to register!  Registration under Colorado's Produce Safety Rule Program needs to be completed on an annual basis for those covered by the Produce Safety Rule, including Qualified Exempt farms.

The link to register can be found
here. After logging in or creating your account, you will have to select ‘Create New’ in order for your responses to be recorded for the 2022 growing season.
 
If you are unsure whether you need to register, completing the registration will ensure that CDA has your current contact information to update their database and inspection list.
 
Prefer to fill out a hard copy registration form? Contact
Sarah Musick, Produce Safety Program Coordinator at sarah.musick@state.co.us or 303-869-9282.
Register your farm

Have a produce safety question?


Submit your question or contact Martha Sullins: Martha.Sullins@colostate.edu
 
Colorado’s Produce Safety Collaborative is part of the CSU Extension program and made up of 5 organizations collaborating to bring the most up-to-date produce safety information, training and education to Colorado’s produce growers and other industry stakeholders. 
 
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