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NC Cooperative Extension Service

NC Fresh Produce
Safety Task Force

Goal & Purpose | History | Working Groups | Co-chairs | Talking Points |  In the News | Goal of the Task Force To ensure that North Carolina has a competitive, vibrant and safe fresh produce industry supported through the research, teaching and outreach programs of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Farm Bureau and industry groups. Purpose of the Task Force The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force minimizes food safety risks and enhances the economic competitiveness of North Carolina’s fresh produce industry. The Task Force is a partnership that brings together members involved in education, public policy, the fresh produce industry and research. Partnering institutions and agencies include: North Carolina State University – Cooperative Extension, including the program areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Family and Consumer Sciences, the Departments of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition SciencesHorticultural ScienceAgricultural and Resource EconomicsBiological and Agricultural Engineering; and 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences. North Carolina A&T State University – Cooperative Extension, Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, and Family and Consumer Sciences. North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – North Carolina Food and Drug Protection Division and Marketing Division. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) North Carolina Farm Bureau Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Commodity Groups Fresh Produce Brokers/Distributors Individual Growers History of the Task Force The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force was formed in April 2007 under the direction of Dr. Trevor Phister, formerly with N.C. State’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, with the help and guidance of departmental colleague Dr. John Rushing and Dr. Jonathan Schultheis, Department of Horticultural Science. The Task Force was formed with members of the above groups to help identify and address the needs of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry in the area of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and fresh produce safety. Working Groups The task force consists of five working groups: Working Group 1 – Education: Works to ensure that the fresh produce industry understands and implements GAPs through effective and dynamic educational programs. Working Group 2 – Research: Works to ensure that research-based crop production and management guidelines are used to maximize produce safety. Working Group 3 – Industry and Policy Relationships: Works to ensure that industry and public policy decisions regarding fresh produce safety are informed by science-based information. Working Group 4 – Communication and Networking: Works to ensure that a network of government, university and industry collaborators work together in an effective and timely manner to communicate and address food safety incidences and concerns. Working Group 5 – Executive Management Oversight: Works to ensure that the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force is effectively managed and supported and is integrated with other organizational initiatives through the N.C. Food Safety and Defense Task Force. Working Group 6 – Small Farms: Works to ensure that solutions for GAPs education and certification address the needs and conditions of N.C. small farms. Co-Chairs of the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Dr. Ben Chapman (Benjamin_Chapman@ncsu.edu), NCSU – 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences Department, Assistant Professor & Extension Food Safety Specialist Diane Ducharme (Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu), NCSU – Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI), GAPs Program Coordinator & Extension Associate in Horticulture & Food Safety Dr. Chris Gunter (Chris_Gunter@ncsu.edu), NCSU – Horticultural Science Department, Assistant Professor Dr. Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez (egutier2@ncsu.edu), NCSU- Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Services, Assistant Professor  & Extension Specialist Fresh Produce Safety NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Talking Points on FSMAs Produce Safety - Spring 2009 Scale appropriate. Regulations or laws for produce safety must be appropriate to the scale of a farming operation. All produce farms should comply with baseline produce safety protocols. Protocols established must be consistent with existing rules and regulations. Risk based. Measures to mitigate produce safety risk or to implement solutions, must be based on the assessment of the risk. Focus should be placed on those measures and solutions that will make a difference based on risk assessment and not superficial changes simply to “look good,” but that do not result in real risk reduction. The process for variance from rules will be important to North Carolina due to geographic and climatic diversity. Science based. Specific measures to mitigate produce safety risk or specific metrics included in produce safety solutions, must be based on sound science. Funding research to develop a science-based approach to on-farm produce safety should be a priority. Produce safety research must also be conducted regionally. Climatic conditions in the Southeast are significantly different from those in the West and Midwest and Northeast. Tiered compliance. Compliance with produce safety measures should be tiered to reflect farm size, market served and risk. All fruit and vegetable producers should comply with baseline produce safety measures: Additional tiers of compliance would be mandated by risk, market demands and developed based on science. If USDA is not the key agency, their technical and marketing expertise must shape implementation. Farmer driven. North Carolina is being proactive in farmer driven produce safety initiatives. The process is inclusive of all farm sizes, fruit and vegetable crops and includes conventional and organic production. Mitigate risk proactively. Produce safety legislation and regulations should mitigate risk based on scientifically derived practices through education and incentives rather than punitive measures for non-compliance. Market recovery. Legislation should include measures for market recovery and assistance to producers who through no fault of their own were unable to market crops due to a mandated recall. In the News NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Promotes Message on Capitol Hill Food Safety Team Wins Opal Mann Green Award Fresh Produce Safety Symposium Small Growers with and Emphasis on Organic/Sustainable Growers North Carolina Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Outreach NC Fresh Produce Safety Initiative

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NC Cooperative Extension Service

NC Fresh Produce
Safety Task Force

Goal & Purpose | History | Working Groups | Co-chairs | Talking Points |  In the News | Goal of the Task Force To ensure that North Carolina has a competitive, vibrant and safe fresh produce industry supported through the research, teaching and outreach programs of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Farm Bureau and industry groups. Purpose of the Task Force The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force minimizes food safety risks and enhances the economic competitiveness of North Carolina’s fresh produce industry. The Task Force is a partnership that brings together members involved in education, public policy, the fresh produce industry and research. Partnering institutions and agencies include: North Carolina State University – Cooperative Extension, including the program areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Family and Consumer Sciences, the Departments of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition SciencesHorticultural ScienceAgricultural and Resource EconomicsBiological and Agricultural Engineering; and 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences. North Carolina A&T State University – Cooperative Extension, Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, and Family and Consumer Sciences. North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – North Carolina Food and Drug Protection Division and Marketing Division. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) North Carolina Farm Bureau Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Commodity Groups Fresh Produce Brokers/Distributors Individual Growers History of the Task Force The N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force was formed in April 2007 under the direction of Dr. Trevor Phister, formerly with N.C. State’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, with the help and guidance of departmental colleague Dr. John Rushing and Dr. Jonathan Schultheis, Department of Horticultural Science. The Task Force was formed with members of the above groups to help identify and address the needs of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry in the area of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and fresh produce safety. Working Groups The task force consists of five working groups: Working Group 1 – Education: Works to ensure that the fresh produce industry understands and implements GAPs through effective and dynamic educational programs. Working Group 2 – Research: Works to ensure that research-based crop production and management guidelines are used to maximize produce safety. Working Group 3 – Industry and Policy Relationships: Works to ensure that industry and public policy decisions regarding fresh produce safety are informed by science-based information. Working Group 4 – Communication and Networking: Works to ensure that a network of government, university and industry collaborators work together in an effective and timely manner to communicate and address food safety incidences and concerns. Working Group 5 – Executive Management Oversight: Works to ensure that the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force is effectively managed and supported and is integrated with other organizational initiatives through the N.C. Food Safety and Defense Task Force. Working Group 6 – Small Farms: Works to ensure that solutions for GAPs education and certification address the needs and conditions of N.C. small farms. Co-Chairs of the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Dr. Ben Chapman (Benjamin_Chapman@ncsu.edu), NCSU – 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences Department, Assistant Professor & Extension Food Safety Specialist Diane Ducharme (Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu), NCSU – Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI), GAPs Program Coordinator & Extension Associate in Horticulture & Food Safety Dr. Chris Gunter (Chris_Gunter@ncsu.edu), NCSU – Horticultural Science Department, Assistant Professor Dr. Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez (egutier2@ncsu.edu), NCSU- Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Services, Assistant Professor  & Extension Specialist Fresh Produce Safety NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Talking Points on FSMAs Produce Safety - Spring 2009 Scale appropriate. Regulations or laws for produce safety must be appropriate to the scale of a farming operation. All produce farms should comply with baseline produce safety protocols. Protocols established must be consistent with existing rules and regulations. Risk based. Measures to mitigate produce safety risk or to implement solutions, must be based on the assessment of the risk. Focus should be placed on those measures and solutions that will make a difference based on risk assessment and not superficial changes simply to “look good,” but that do not result in real risk reduction. The process for variance from rules will be important to North Carolina due to geographic and climatic diversity. Science based. Specific measures to mitigate produce safety risk or specific metrics included in produce safety solutions, must be based on sound science. Funding research to develop a science-based approach to on-farm produce safety should be a priority. Produce safety research must also be conducted regionally. Climatic conditions in the Southeast are significantly different from those in the West and Midwest and Northeast. Tiered compliance. Compliance with produce safety measures should be tiered to reflect farm size, market served and risk. All fruit and vegetable producers should comply with baseline produce safety measures: Additional tiers of compliance would be mandated by risk, market demands and developed based on science. If USDA is not the key agency, their technical and marketing expertise must shape implementation. Farmer driven. North Carolina is being proactive in farmer driven produce safety initiatives. The process is inclusive of all farm sizes, fruit and vegetable crops and includes conventional and organic production. Mitigate risk proactively. Produce safety legislation and regulations should mitigate risk based on scientifically derived practices through education and incentives rather than punitive measures for non-compliance. Market recovery. Legislation should include measures for market recovery and assistance to producers who through no fault of their own were unable to market crops due to a mandated recall. In the News NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Promotes Message on Capitol Hill Food Safety Team Wins Opal Mann Green Award Fresh Produce Safety Symposium Small Growers with and Emphasis on Organic/Sustainable Growers North Carolina Fresh Produce Safety Task Force Outreach NC Fresh Produce Safety Initiative

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NC Cooperative Extension Service

Strawberry Food
Safety

Strawberry specific resources can be found here Information was created to address specific strawberry food safety practices that growers can utilize with direct markets such as farmers markets, pick-your-own (PYO), and community supported agriculture (CSA). This project’s resources are provided working in partnership with the NC Strawberry Association, NC Cooperative Extension, and the NC Department of Agriculture and is supported in part by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

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NC Cooperative Extension Service

Food Safety Events
Across the State

Because you have been asking.....Here are some food safety events/talks that are going on across the state. May 6th & 7th, 2015 The 5th Annual NC Food Safety and Defense Task Force Conference.  FSMA: Impacts of New Legislation.   Location: NC Biotechnology Center, 15 T W Alexander Dr., Durham, NC 27703 Agenda and Registration Form Purpose: The Task Force is a multi-agency, multi-stakeholder partnership designed to improve the protection of the food supply in North Carolina. The Task Force is comprised of members with relevant expertise drawn from the ranks of academia, private industry, state and local government agencies, the law enforcement community, and technical professionals. The Task Force is chaired jointly by the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services through their various designees. March 10th & 11th, 2015 Strawberry Production Food Safety Workshop- Wilson County Day One: March 10th, 2015 from 1 PM – 4 pm Speakers: Dr. Chris Gunter and Diane Ducharme Location to Meet at: Dean’s Farm Market 4231 N. Carolina 42 Wilson, NC 27893 Day Two: March 11, 2015 from 9 am – 4 pm (Lunch Provided with registration) Speakers:Dr. Chris Gunter (NCSU), Dr. Anita MacMillan (NCDA) and Diane Ducharme (NCSU) Location to Meet at: Wilson County Office of NC Cooperative Extension | 1806 SW Goldsboro Street Wilson, NC 27893 For More Information and Registration:http://ncfreshproducesafety.ces.ncsu.edu/spotlight/strawberry-production-food-safety/ March 4th & 18th, 2015 Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series Speaker: Diane Ducharme Lincoln County Office of NC Cooperative Extension For More Information and Registration:http://ncfreshproducesafety.ces.ncsu.edu/spotlight/lincoln-county-fresh-produce-good-agricultural-practices-workshop-series/ February 23, 2015 Piedmont Grown Annual Conference: Growing Your Farm/Food Business: The Power of Branding Farming Without Losing Your Shirt (Food Safety & GAPs) Speaker: Diane Ducharme North Carolina Research Center, Kannapolis, NC For More Information and Registration: http://stokes.ces.ncsu.edu/2015/01/2015-piedmont-grown-conference/ February 12, 2015 WNC Ag Options Workshop Food Safety – What does it mean for a new grower? Speaker: Diane Ducharme Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center Mills River, NC 28759 For More Information and Registration: http://www.wncagoptions.org

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NC Cooperative Extension Service

Choosing and Using
Chlorine-Based Products

A serious issue has been brought to the attention of the North Carolina Fresh Produce Task Force (NCFPSTF) regarding the use of household bleach mixed with soap when washing and disinfecting fresh produce. We want to remind you that only FOOD GRADE chlorine-based disinfectants can be used when disinfecting fruits and vegetables. Most growers have a ready-to-eat product that can only be in direct contact with chlorine solutions that are approved under the food code of federal regulations Chapter 21 CFR Part 173.  Please also avoid mixing non-food-grade soaps or other chemicals that are not food grade and/or not intended to be used in combination with chlorine solutions. Chlorine will react with some of these chemicals generating carcinogenic compounds that will remain in direct contact with the fruit or vegetable being disinfected. If you are in doubt of which food grade chlorine-based disinfectants to use in direct contact with fruits and vegetables or how to handle and prepare these solutions, please refer to the pamphlet linked below describing this and other important aspects linked to food grade chlorine-based disinfectants. The NCFPSTF will be hosting workshops in the next two months targeting this specific practice.  Further information of the locations, dates, and times will be provided in the near future.   FBNS Fact Sheet: Choosing and Using Chlorine-Based Products (PDF) Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez, PhD Assistant Professor - Extension Specialist egutier2@ncsu.edu

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FDA-FSMA-200x221

FDA's FSMA Proposed
Rules and Resources

Produce Safety Standards under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Introduction to FSMA Produce Rule as well as the guidance rules, and Produce Safety Alliance information. Redline Comparison of Original Proposed Rule to Supplemental Proposed Produce Rule This document shows the changes made with the addition of the supplemental rule on Produce safety rule. Produce Safety Proposed Supplemental Rule Based on FDA’s outreach efforts and public comments, the FDA is proposing revisions to its proposed rule on produce safety that are more flexible and less burdensome in key areas. Here is a summary of the key provisions. Does the FSMA Proposed Rule for Produce Safety Apply to You? What You Need to Know About Proposed Rule This will take you through a flow chart to determine if the proposed Produce Safety rule applies to your farm. FSMA Proposed Rule for Produce Safety: Information on Specific Provisions from supplemental Produce Rule This link will provide summary information on the supplemental provisions proposed in the Produce Safety Rule. FACTSHEET on Supplemental Produce Safety Rules Agricultural Water – Proposed Microbial Standards This PDF provides a flowchart of the supplemental proposed water quality microbial standards of the Produce Safety Rule.

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At the moment, there are no upcoming events listed.
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