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Have You Taken The Food Safety Training You Need?

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

By Sarah Everhart

Photo shows a hand picking blueberries off a bush. Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. See here for the site’s reposting policy.

There will be several Produce Safety Rule Trainings throughout the state this winter, hosted by a team of experts from the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland, for producers who need to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Farmers who grow produce that is often consumed raw (e.g. berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) are likely covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and are required to attend a Produce Safety Rule Training and take certain steps, including but not limited to, identifying and reducing food safety risks on the farm.

If you are unsure how the Produce Safety Rule impacts your operation, attend one of the upcoming trainings to learn what you need to do to be in compliance with the law. Although the compliance dates for the Produce Safety Rule are staggered based on the size of the farm business, even the smallest operations to which the Rule applies must comply by January 27, 2020.

Growers who are exempt from FSMA may also be interested in attending if they need to maintain a food safety certification. These trainings can also satisfy the food safety trainings obligations for certain GAP programs, including Maryland GAP. Growers who need to comply with FSMA and/or GAP should make sure they send their designated food safety employee to one of the following upcoming trainings:

  1. Thursday, January 16, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Hyattsville, MD, Future Harvest CASA Conference, attendees should register for the Thursday Pre-Conference: Safe Foods Safe Farms- Growing Training. For more information contact Angela Ferelli, 302-353-7159.

  2. Friday, January 24, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Street, MD. Register here.

  3. Thursday, February 6, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Derwood, MD. Register here.

  4. Thursday, March 5, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – McHenry, MD. Register here.

Registration cost is $25 per attendee. Due to the ongoing need for Food Safety trainings, these trainings will continue to be offered, but registration fees may be more costly in the future – so register today! Growers will receive guidance regarding food safety risks and how to mitigate them, and a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training manual to take home. Upon completion of the day-long workshop, registrants will receive a certificate of completion via U.S. mail to prove they satisfied the FSMA training requirement.

Funding for this series of food safety trainings is currently made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health & Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.

If you have previously attended a training but have questions about how the Produce Safety Rule applies to your operation, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the legal specialists at the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, at or 410-706-7377.

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