At Safe Food Training, we focus on keeping food preparers and certified food managers informed and up to date on food handling procedures. We also spend a significant amount of time keeping an eye on where our food comes from. Recently, the USDA has funded grants for specialty crop farmers in an effort to help modernize food safety training on farms and keep our food supply safe.
Innovations in Food Safety Training on Farms
Farmers of major crops such as corn, soybeans and rice receive their share of approximately 25 billion dollars in subsidies from the US government, but, up until recently, specialty crop farmers received very little. A specialty crop farm ranges from large producers of unique produce to small family farms. Many of these growers don’t have the resources necessary to use more modern and technologically advanced techniques to battle food-borne illness carriers such as insects, amphibians and other influences.
Much of the money from these new grants will be spent on education to help underfunded farms receive training on how to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act. These workshops teach farmers how to update their sanitation procedures to prevent potential contaminates such as E.coli, listeria or chemical products from spreading from sources such as manure or farming equipment to product that is ready to be shipped.
One of the largest issues these grants are looking to tackle is the issue of water quality control. Microorganisms and pathogens are easily spread through water, whether it’s the water in irrigation systems, drinking water for animals or water used to clean equipment. With better water-quality standards and practices, the chances of contaminated produce reaching restaurants and other food preparers will greatly decrease.
Beyond training and water-quality modernization, there are many other food safety training goals for specialty farmers that come along with this funding, including:
- Advanced washing and storing solutions for leafy greens to extend shelf life
- Water temperature control during the washing of fruits and vegetables
- The establishment of clear guidelines on how to follow the FSMA
We think that funding food safety training at all levels will go a long way to reduce product recalls due to contamination and keep the food supply safe for food preparers and consumers in general. Are there any other aspects of the food supply chain before it reaches your facility you’d like us to explore?