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Extension Food Safety

On-Farm Produce Safety

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Introduction to Produce Safety

Free Water Testing for Produce Growers

Agricultural water can be a major conduit for pathogens that can contaminate produce, which is why the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water. FDA is currently exploring ways to simplify the agricultural water standards established by the rule, and announced its intention to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements (other than for sprouts).

Knowing the quality of water used to grow fresh produce is important even before water quality compliance dates come into effect. The only action recommended right now is for growers to test their water quality. Growers should focus on understanding the quality of water they use during production of fresh produce, including for irrigation, mixing with sprays, post-harvest washing and other uses. Growers who have never tested their well water or surface water should begin testing for quantified generic E. coli, especially if the water directly contacts the fresh produce they grow. The only way to know E. coli levels in water is to test the water!

Kansas State Research & Extension is currently offering free water testing for Kansas and Missouri growers. For more information, go to http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/produce/testing.html.

Kansas Specialty Crop Association

The Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association (KSCGA) aims to advance Kansas' specialty crop production through a network of growers who are equipped with the technical assistance, education, and empowerment they need to succeed. By partnering with K-State Research and Extension, Kansas State University and the Kansas Department of Agriculture, members receive benefits that include:
  • Production Technical Assistance: Soil health, plant pathology, disease management, IPM, crop selection and rotation, food safety, etc.
  • Advocacy Resources: Educational resources on federal and state policies that affect farming, local food systems and the environment
  • Education: Events focused on educating commercial producers on topics identified by members and affiliates
  • Member Directory: A public listing of members that can be used for networking with other growers, wholesale buyers or direct-to-market consumers
  • Unified Voice: Unified efforts to increase the resources available to speciality crop growers in the state of Kansas

Please visit www.kscga.org for more information or to become a member!


 Depot Market

Special thanks to Dan and Kathy Kuhn of the Depot Market for volunteering to be the first Kansas farm to participate in an On Farm Readiness Review!


The next step to FSMA compliance: On-Farm Readiness Review

How ready is your farm for new produce safety regulations? Find out with a free On-Farm Readiness Review! Many fresh produce growers have heard of the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and may have some understanding of what they might need to do, but may not know just how ready they are if an inspection needed to take place.

In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of the FSMA produce safety rule, Kansas State Research and Extension and the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) have teamed up to offer On-Farm Readiness Reviews (OFRR). This review will walk through your operation, step-by-step, and see what you're doing right and any potential areas of concern. You will problem-solve with trained professionals about how to inexpensively change (if necessary) to meet the new food safety requirements. It is completely voluntary for growers to request an OFRR if they are interested. Best of all, there is no cost to growers!

A key starting point to doing the On-Farm Readiness Review is attending a FSMA Produce Safety Alliance grower training. This is a one-day course that has been and will continue to be offered by K-State Research & Extension throughout the state. This course introduces the key concepts about food safety that are covered by the FSMA Produce Safety rule. After attending this course, you will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

Farmers interested in an OFRR must also register with KDA as a produce farm. To register click here and for more information about registration click here. Once you have attended a FSMA PSA training and registered as a produce farm with KDA, contact Cal Jamerson (agri@ksu.edu or 913-307-7394) about scheduling an OFRR. If you have specific questions about the OFRR or other on-farm produce safety questions, don't hesitate to get a hold of Cal!

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Our thanks to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, as well as USDA NIFA (Award 2016-70020-25800), and the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development Incentive Grant for their support of this produce safety work.

Funding for this website and the listed workshops are made possible in part by grant KS5895 from the FDA. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the FDA.

Kansas Department of Agriculture  KSRE