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WVU Extension Service offers food safety courses statewide

producer spraying water on lettuce to prepare for sale

With new safety regulations and procedures in place for farmers and agribusiness owners, West Virginia University Extension Service is helping local growers navigate these changes while providing education and training to ensure consumer safety.

WVU Extension Service joins the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and West Virginia State University to offer a series of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training sessions for fruit and vegetable growers, as well as others interested in learning about produce. There also will be a series of sessions focused on writing a food safety plan offered to those who have already attended a produce safety class.

The first Producer Safety Alliance (PSA)-approved training was held during the West Virginia Small Farm Conference in Morgantown. The second session will be held March 24 at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (13650 Apple Harvest Dr.) in Martinsburg. The third session will be April 24 at the Holiday Inn Express Winfield-Teays Valley (941 State Rt. 34) in Hurricane. The last available session will be held at West Liberty University at the Highlands (355 Wharton Cir. #200) on May 3 in Tridelphia. Each session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The food safety training will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices and co-management information, FSMA produce safety rule requirements and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to fulfill the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement as outlined in §112.22(c).

The first farm food safety plan writing session will be held March 10 at the WVU Agricultural Science Building (Rm. 4004, Evansdale Way) in Morgantown. A second session will be offered at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College on April 21 in Martinsburg. The third session will be held on May 9 at the Holiday Inn Express Winfield-Teays Valley in Hurricane, followed by the final session which will be at West Liberty University at the Highlands on May 24 in Tridelphia. Each session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.  

These writing sessions will provide instruction on how to properly document best production and handling practices, as well as how to develop a customized food safety manual and records-keeping log for agricultural management. 

The cost for the Producer Safety Alliance training is $50 per person which includes a PSA grower training manual, refreshments and a Certificate of Course Attendance from the Association of Food and Drug Officials upon completion of the course and subsequent submission of necessary documentation. The cost of the writing sessions is $10 per person which includes course materials and meals.

Space is limited and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. More details, including reservation information, can be found at:  http://epay.wvsto.com/WVU/WVUANREvents/Default.aspx.

The sessions are offered at substantial cost-savings to growers through grants from The Benedum Foundation, Northeast Extension Risk Management Education and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education.

For more information about these training sessions, please contact Dee Singh-Knights at  dosingh-knights@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.7606 

For more information about WVU Extension Service, visit  extension.wvu.edu.

-WVU-

hf/2.27.18

CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Extension Service
304.293.7996;  tecurtis@mail.wvu.edu

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