The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will offer an online produce safety training workshop May 5-6 to educate fruit and vegetable producers about federal rules.

The online training will be offered via Zoom from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Participants can register at https://bit.ly/3tnPV2z. Registration is limited to 20 farmers and growers and closes April 28, so that training materials can be mailed to participants before the workshop.

The training, developed by the Produce Safety Alliance and presented by the Cooperative Extension Service, helps growers understand regulatory requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. The rule regulates standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce. The rule will affect most produce farms.

“The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act introduced new regulations to protect public health by preventing food-safety incidents instead of reacting to them after they occur,” said Natacha Cureau, Food Systems and Safety postdoctoral associate. “This way, we can reduce financial risk to farmers and protect the public by ensuring a safe food supply.”

The training will cover topics such as agricultural water, soil amendments, worker health and hygiene, wildlife management, post-harvest handling and food safety plans.

Growers who attend the training will receive a certificate of completion, which satisfies the FDA requirement. Participants must be present both days of the training and must have Internet access, Zoom video conferencing software, a web camera and a microphone.

The cost is $20 for Arkansas residents and $100 for out-of-state residents.

For more information, contact Cureau at ncureau@uada.edu or 501-416-6247, or visit www.uaex.uada.edu/producesafety.

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