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Colorado Produce Safety News

July 2021

Hello everyone! We hope you are enjoying a good growing season so far this year. In this month's newsletter we discuss agricultural water and provide updates from the Produce Safety Program including information about inspections and the Produce Safety Rule hearing.

|| Resources & Information ||

Agricultural water under the Produce Safety Rule

As many of you know, the agricultural water standards (Subpart E) of the Produce Safety Rule are under review by FDA and are not finalized yet. We anticipate we will have a draft of the new agricultural water standards from FDA by the end of the year. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take now with your production water to be prepared for the new requirements.
 

What is ag water under the Produce Safety Rule? 

It is important to understand the definition of agricultural water because the requirements only apply if your water use meets the definition of agricultural water.

Agricultural water
 is defined in part as “water (that is) intended to, or is likely to, contact covered produce or food contact surfaces” and covered produce is defined in part as “the harvestable or harvested part of the crop” (§ 112.3(c)). The language directly from the Produce Safety Rule requires that “all agricultural water must be safe and of adequate sanitary quality for its intended use” (§ 112.41). This includes both production water and post-harvest water. 
 
Learn more




Test your water sources


Visual assessment of the water cannot determine pathogen presence.

 

The only way to understand your microbial water quality is to test each water source (well, ditch, pond, etc.) you use during your produce production. Visual assessment of the water cannot determine pathogen presence, in other words, just because it looks clean does not mean that it is free of pathogens. The best indicator of pathogen presence is generic E. coli and so you should choose a test that will provide the levels of generic E. coli in your water sample. The water testing lab can help you determine what test you should request.
 
Find a Water Testing Lab near you

Inspect your water sources

 

Farmers should protect and maintain their water quality so it is important to understand the factors that might be impacting your water source or distribution systems.

The best way to evaluate potential risks in or near your water source is to do a survey of the land around or near the water source or distribution system. For surface water, this could include assessing the areas directly around your farm and also understanding what is upstream from you. For wells, assess the well head to determine if there is any potential for contamination to enter the well and ensure there is backflow prevention. And for municipal water, look at the distribution system (pipes or other conveyances) to determine if there is any damage that could allow contaminants to enter the system. 

Resources to help with water system inspection:

|| Education & Training ||


Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course

 

Colorado does not have any courses scheduled until Fall 2021 but there are other virtual options available.

Produce Safety Alliance Online Training 

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

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

|| News ||


Colorado Produce Safety Inspections to Begin for 2021 Season

A message from the Colorado Produce Safety Program:
CDA field inspectors will be conducting an on-farm inspection that will focus on compliance with the Federal Produce Safety Rule (PSR). The PSR is a federal regulation enacted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that focuses on reducing food borne pathogens on produce commonly eaten raw. The overall vision of the regulation and the PSR program  is to reduce the number of recalls for pathogenic contaminants by establishing a baseline level of good agricultural practices related to growing, harvesting, packing and holding of covered produce. Keep reading


Have you registered your farm with the Colorado Department of Agriculture yet? 

All farms that grow produce and have total produce sales of more than $28,075 over a 3-year rolling average are required by Colorado state statue to register their farm with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Registration is free of cost and only takes a few minutes. Visit the Colorado Produce Safety Program to learn more about the program. 

For more information or questions about registration please reach out to program staff at produce.safety@state.co.us or 303-869-9284.
 
Register your farm now

Colorado Produce Safety Rule Hearing Date Set

A hearing on the proposed rule to increase the dollar threshold for farms exempt from the state’s Produce Safety Rule will be held virtually on Aug 24th, 2021 at 12:45pm. The proposed change increases the sales volume allowed for farms who are exempt from the rule. The increased value is based on the adjusted inflation rate allowed by the FDA. 

For further information contact Duane Sinning at 303-869-9284, Duane.Sinning@state.co.us or visit Colorado Produce Safety Program.   

Have a produce safety question?


Submit your question or contact Cristy Dice: Cristy.L.Dice@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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