Food Safety is a hot topic on the farm these days! Recently, legislation has passed that puts the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in charge of reviewing farming practices--especially when fruits and vegetables are being sold wholesale.
What we are doing: We are partnering with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to provide guidance and support to small farms in the area with regard to food safety information and implementation. Our intention is to help local growers become certified under the new Good Agricultural Practices (food safety) to allow them to sell to institutional markets and be prepared for the implementation of the new federal legislation. This is critical to creating new marketing opportunities!
Food Safety Resources:
National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) Program: Cornell's Good Agricultural Practices website. It includes info on food safety and handling, research articles, and contact info for extension specialists.
Food Safety Begins on the Farm: A Grower's Guide (2000): This report reviews Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) focusing on how to manage manure, processing, and irrigation in produce. Contaminants such as e.coli and salmonella can be found in many areas, and this article describes how best to handle these potential problems. The authors focus on cleanliness and timing to ensure the safety of farm products and point to the recent nationally publicized food-borne illness outbreaks as examples of the failure to implement GAPs. Published by Cornell University, Department of Food Science.