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WVU Extension Service to host series of food safety trainings for growers

Two yellow and green striped squash in a leafy, garden setting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 48 million people become ill from contaminated food every year in the United States; nearly half of those illnesses are the result of contaminated produce. With proper training and food safety planning, many of these outbreaks can be prevented.

West Virginia University Extension Service is helping local farmers and agribusiness owners navigate new safety regulations and procedures while providing education and training to increase consumer safety from these foodborne illnesses.

Teaming up with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and West Virginia State University, WVU Extension Service is offering a series of farm food safety workshops for fruit and vegetable growers, as well as others interested in learning about produce safety.

In the coming months, a total of six Food Safety Modernization Act grower trainings and farm food safety plan writing workshops will be held regionally around the state. Each session will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FSMA grower trainings will be held on the following dates and locations:

  - October 29 at the Bridgeport Conference Center (300 Conference Center Way, Bridgeport)

  - November 9 at the West Virginia State University Integrated Research and Extension Building (200     Ave. A, Building 1, Institute)

  - November 21 at the Blue Ridge Community & Technical College (13650 Apple Harvest Dr.,     Martinsburg)

The farm food safety plan writing workshops will be held on the following dates and locations:

  - December 3 at the Blue Ridge Community & Technical College (13650 Apple Harvest Dr.,     Martinsburg)

  - December 7 at the West Virginia State University Integrated Research and Extension Building (200     Ave. A, Building 1, Institute)

  - December 10 at the Bridgeport Conference Center (300 Conference Center Way, Bridgeport)

Coupled together, these courses provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices and co-management information, FSMA produce safety rule requirements and details on how to develop a customized farm food safety plan.

The cost for the FSMA grower training is $50 per person, which includes a Produce Safety Alliance grower training manual, refreshments and a certificate of attendance from the Association of Food and Drug Officials upon completion of the course and subsequent submission of necessary documentation.

The cost for the farm food safety plan writing workshop is $10 per person, which includes a comprehensive notebook designed to reduce paperwork duplication and prepare your farm for a successful third-party audit, as well as refreshments.

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

WVU Extension Service and its partners are able to offer these trainings at substantial cost savings to growers through grants from the Benedum Foundation and the FDA FSMA Produce Safety West Virginia Cooperative Agreement.

Questions should be directed to Dee Singh-Knights at dosingh-knights@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-7606.

-WVU-

hb/9/18/19