by Mariel Borgman, Michigan State University Extension
Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:01AM EDT
The second annual Southwest Michigan Food Safety Summit was held February 15 and 16 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in partnership with Michigan State University Extension. This year the summit was geared for specialty crop growers and offered the opportunity to earn Produce Safety Alliance certification to meet Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements. The conference and grower certification was sponsored by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through Specialty Crop Block Grant funds.
The two-day event opened with a keynote speech and panel facilitated by John Fisk, Director of the Wallace Center. This part of the conference was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube. Over the course of two days, growers had the option to complete the content for certification as well as attend food safety planning and post-harvest handling workshops. Growers interested in participating the Michigan Group GAP program also gathered on the second day of the workshop to kick off the next season.
In total, 45 growers earned FDA-recognized certificates for their completion of the Produce Safety Alliance training. Evaluation results indicated that all participants increased their skills in the areas of post-harvest handling and sanitation, and most increased their skills in recordkeeping, food safety plan writing, and microbial testing of produce contact surfaces.
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