Integrating the Local School System in Food Safety Training

in HortScience
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  • 1 1N.C. State University, NC Coopertive Extension, Salisbury, NC, 28146
  • | 2 2N.C. State University, Horticulture, Raleigh, NC, 27695
  • | 3 3N.C. State University, Food Science, Raleigh, NC, 27695

Food safety, including fresh produce food safety programming and GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) third-party audit considerations are impacting the ability of producers marketing their crops. These relatively new federal programs are voluntary, but major buyers and chain stores are beginning to require that growers and sellers demonstrate participation in the programs. Recently, there were no training programs or materials readily available to meet educational needs of Cooperative Extension clients. Local producers began to request information on participation, compliance, and the end results. In Rowan County, N.C., two different programs addressed information and training material limitations for local producers. In one training session, local farmer's market participants were introduced to risk management concepts that helped them meet the GAPs training requirements. In another program, local school personnel were introduced to new food safety concepts in a local training for Hispanic workers. Since translation capability is limited, we have partnered with Spanish speakers from a local bank and from a migrant worker education group. This networking was valuable to our cooperators, since they reached new clients, and to us in getting workers trained in food safety.

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