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2022 Midwest Vegetable Guide

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Produce Food Safety 36 Midwest Veg Guide 2022 generally recommended that growers use a 90-day interval between manure application and harvest for above ground crops and a 120-day interval for crops where the edible portion is in contact with the soil. Manure is considered raw (or untreated) unless it has been properly composted or has undergone a validated process to reduce microbe levels. Composting must be done in accordance with specifications set forth in the National Organic Program or materials are considered untreated. BSAAO that has been properly composted and then protected from contamination is less likely to contain human pathogens and may be applied to fields at any time without application-to-harvest intervals. When using products containing BSAAO, growers should consult the manufacturer to determine if the product has been properly treated. Workers Growers should monitor workers for signs of illness. Individuals who are sick should not handle produce and should be assigned to other tasks. Workers should wash hands frequently, before beginning work and before returning to work following any breaks. Growers should have policies compelling workers to wear clean clothes at the beginning of the workday and should prohibit the wearing of jewelry (except for a simple wedding band) or sequined clothing while working with, or around, produce. All workers should receive sanitation and hygiene training. Wildlife Excessive wildlife activity in production areas has the potential to introduce human pathogens into crops. Growers should monitor fields for signs of wildlife activity. Interventions should be used when wildlife populations rise to levels that introduce excessive risk to crops. A number of products are available for deterring wildlife from fields. Netting and fencing may be used to exclude animals. Live traps may be used to relocate animals (check with local and state regulations prior to attempting). Reflective tape and noise-making devices may be used to frighten wildlife. Vertebrate pest are highly adaptable, and as a result, growers will very likely need to employ several tactics in combination to manage populations. Produce Safety Rule and On Farm Readiness Review The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule became law in January 2016. The rule codifies food safety standards for vegetable growers. Depending on farm size, growers will have varying amounts of time to implement the rule on individual farms. Not all vegetable growers are covered by the rule and some growers may have qualified exemptions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a flowchart to help growers determine whether or not they are covered by the rule. The flowchart is available at fda.gov/media/94332/download . Informational videos dealing with FSMA Produce Rule coverage and other very useful compliance information may be accessed at the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse at foodsafetyclearinghouse.org . Among other requirements, one person from each farm that is covered by the Produce Safety Rule must receive an approved training. Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) grower trainings meet the Produce Safety Rule training requirement. A directory of certified trainers is available on the PSA website at resources.producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/directory . The On Farm Readiness Review is a tool developed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) to help growers assess their level of compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. The review is voluntary, completely confidential, and is conducted by a team of qualified individuals. Growers who wish to request an On Farm Readiness Review should contact the lead agency for Produce Safety Rule implementation in their respective states. For example, Indiana growers should contact the Indiana Department of Health at 317-476-0056 or ProduceSafety@ISDH.in.gov to request a review. Inspection of Covered Produce Farms Inspection of produce farms covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule began in 2019. Farms with annual sales of over $500,000 were initially inspected. During the 2020 growing season, those farms with annual sales of $250,000 - $500,000 (small farms per FDA definition) will also be inspected. Inspections for very small farms, those having annual sales of $25,000 - $250,000 will begin in 2021. Inspections will vary by state and may be conducted by state departments of agriculture, state departments of health, or FDA. All inspections will be conducted using a similar process and will be based on FDA Form 4056, although states may customize this form to some degree. A copy of FDA Form 4056 may be viewed at fda.gov/media/124867/download . Regardless of the agency conducting the inspection, growers will be contacted in advance of the actual inspection in order to arrange a mutually agreed upon inspection time. GAPs Certifications and 3rd Party Audits A GAPs certification (also known as a 3rd party certification) is an increasingly common condition of sale for many produce buyers. GAPs certifications are not the same as receiving a certificate for attending a GAPs training or proof of completing a PSA Grower Training. GAPs certifications

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