Editor’s Note: Workshops like this one below in King County, WA are being held around the country to help growers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule.  Cornell University, FDA, and USDA have formed an alliance to prepare fresh produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements included in the latest  Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Training sessions based on the alliance’s standard curriculum are being held all across the nation. Go here for locations, dates and times.
An on-farm food safety workshop for small-scale produce farms called “Bridging the GAPs for King County, WA” is slated for Oct. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Carnation Farms, 28901 NE Carnation Farm Road, Carnation, WA.  The workshop is designed for small-scale farmers in King County to learn about food-safety practices that are cost-effective and scale-appropriate. The focus will be on pre-harvest (production) water quality.
The quality of water used for irrigation, fertigation, frost protection, and other pre-harvest uses can vary, depending on the source of a farmer’s water. Production water quality is an area of focus for both the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) audit and the Food Safety Modernization Produce Safety Rule.
Washington State Department of Agriculture educators and subject-matter experts will present Good Agricultural Practices that small farms can use to monitor their agricultural water systems to reduce the risk of produce contaminations. Topics addressed in this workshop include:
  • °Water sources and associated risks;
  • °GAP and FSMA water-quality standards;
  • °Testing requirements for production water;
  • °Corrective actions;
  • °The Hands-on practice interpreting test results and calculating acceptable bacterial levels;
  • °Related documentation, including policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and records.
In advance of this workshop, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is offering free FSMA-compliant water tests to King County farmers. Farmers will gain useful information about their agricultural water quality, and experience with testing protocols.  Water test results will be a learning tool in the Oct. 29 workshop.
For more information about this free water testing and the free workshop, or to sign up, contact Eli Watts at ewatts@agr.wa.gov or 206-714-6753 asap.
The workshop is free but registration is required. The registration link is https://wsdafoodsafetyworkshopproductionwater.eventbrite.com.

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