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Farmers encouraged to attend trainings on Food Safety Modernization Act

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the University of Maryland and University of Maryland Extension, is offering three trainings for food safety:  1) FDA-approved training curriculum for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule, 2) FDA approved training curriculum for FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, and 3) Basic GAP training.

“The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is beginning to go into effect now,” said Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Bartenfelder. “For larger producers, these trainings will meet standards required under FSMA. I highly encourage my fellow farmers to register and contact staff at MDA and the University of Maryland for details. These are very important trainings.”

FSMA is the first comprehensive update to federal food safety laws since 1938. It sets new standards for food handling across the entire food chain with rules for businesses ranging from farms and food processors to food shippers, importers, retailers, and others. FSMA is also the first federal food safety law that includes specific rules for produce farms.

“Rules implementing FSMA most critical for Maryland farmers to be aware of are the Produce Safety Rule for produce farms and the Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food for processing facilities,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Chief of Food Quality Assurance Deanna Baldwin. “If farmers grow and process food, then they may need to be in compliance with both rules.”

Maryland farmers with questions on the FSMA Produce Safety Rule should call Deanna Baldwin at (410) 841-5769 or Justine Beaulieu at (301) 405-7543.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are best practices for reducing food safety hazards for produce on the farm.  Many of the basic principles for reducing food safety risks are similar between GAP and FSMA. Farms that are familiar with GAP will be well prepared to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

“Even if your farm is exempt from FSMA and your buyers don’t require GAP certification, we strongly encourage you to attend a GAP training to keep up with the latest information on produce safety,” said Baldwin.

Food Safety Modernization Act Training:

  • Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Meets the FDA Produce Safety Rule mandate for training for a supervisor or responsible party for each farm – Certificate Obtained.  Cost: $20
  • Food Safety Modernization Act Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Meets the FDA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule mandate for key personnel responsible for food safety becoming Preventive Controls Qualified – Certificate Obtained. Cost:  $40
  • Hybrid – Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Meets the FDA training requirements for both Rules – two certificates obtained. Cost: $50
  • Register by emailing or calling:  Rohan V. Tikekar at 301-405-4509 or rtikekar@umd.edu or Justine Beaulieu at jbeauli1@umd.edu

Locations and Dates:

Baltimore County Extension Office, Cockeysville

  • February 8 – Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Wye Research & Education Center, Queenstown

  • February 22 – Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • February 23-25 – Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, 9:00 am – 5:15 pm

Western Maryland Research and Education Center, Keedysville

  • March 8 – Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • March 9-11 – Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, 9:00 am – 5:15 pm

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) for Produce locations and dates (Cost: $15 to cover lunch and materials):

More information about the Food Safety Modernization Act is on the department’s website at www.mda.maryland.gov/fsma.

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Telephone: 410-841-5889

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