Workshop on good agricultural practices for food safety offered Feb.
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[February 06, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD — Food safety begins
on the farm. For fresh fruit and vegetable producers, food safety is
particularly important because most of the fresh produce they grow
is eaten raw. Recent produce-associated foodborne illness outbreaks
have heightened public awareness of produce food safety and
increased the demand by fresh produce buyers to have third-party
auditors verify farm food safety practices.
In all produce operations, it is critical to be aware of and
implement food safety practices such as good agricultural practices,
known as GAPs, so that microbial risks can be minimized. A simple
procedure such as hand washing is highly effective at managing
pathogens on workers' hands, but many farms do not have a written
farm food safety plan or a worker training program in place.
University of Illinois Extension is teaming with University of
Cornell Extension and USDA to offer a workshop on good agricultural
practices for food safety. The workshop will be on Feb. 24 from 8:30
a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sangamon County office of University of
Illinois Extension, 700 S. Airport Drive.
This offering was inspired by the desire to keep fresh fruit and
vegetable producers in Illinois competitive in the marketplace. The
retail and food service industry are increasingly focusing on good
agricultural practices and third-party audit requirements to
identify growers who have implemented the practices and have a
verified farm food safety plan.
The workshop program will provide an overview of produce safety
issues and effects, vegetable retailer presentation on concerns
about food safety, good handling practices, food defense protocols
in the food chain, self-auditing farms for food safety, crisis and
risk management, and writing a food safety plan.
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The cost per participant is $15. Preregistration is required
by Feb. 20. Lunch and light refreshments will be provided. For
additional information, call 217-782-4617 or email Deborah
register, go to
Food safety project
Dr. Hao Feng, a food engineer and professor, and his team at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are doing research aimed
at reducing microbial contamination of fresh produce so that the
risk of illness in consumers can be reduced significantly. The food
safety project is interested in assessing farmer awareness of good
agricultural practices for production of safe food. If interested in
participating in the survey, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at
Participation in the survey includes a $15 certificate to attend one
of the University of Illinois Extension GAPS workshops.
[Text from file received from