A partnership involving the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Sysco Corporation, and PrimusLabs.com is providing much-needed produce food safety training to small growers across America to help them boost produce sales.
Local growers, including PMA members and those interested in doing business with Sysco, can receive training via a series of workshops held nationwide. The workshops are designed to help growers understand food safety demands, how to meet them, and how to navigate food safety requirements. The sessions are led by PMA food safety experts with the assistance of representatives from Sysco and PrimusLabs.com.
More than 40 people attended the first workshop August 11 in Portland OR, and future workshops are scheduled for October 13 in Orlando FL, November 10 in Southern California, and early December in the Midwest. Each workshop addresses the modern reality of food safety mandates, what a food safety program should look like, and how to build a solid food safety program. Attendees also get tips from a number of third-party auditing organizations on how to prepare for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits and follow-up steps after an audit. At the first workshop, the audience heard from auditing professionals from PrimusLabs, NSF, and the US Department of Agriculture. The workshops close with guidance on how to proceed, and where to go for help when additional resources are needed.
The Portland workshop featured Dr Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer; Johnna Hepner, PMA director of food safety and foodservice specialist; Stacy Stoltenberg, PrimusLabs.com director of food safety; and Rich Dachman, Sysco’s vice-president of produce.
Growers interested in registering for a future workshop can contact PMA’s Solution Center by telephone at +1 (302) 738-7100, or via e-mail at [email protected].