Submitted by Ag Agent, Ryan Sterry, UWEX

BALDWIN, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX), is hosting several food safety trainings required for Wisconsin fresh produce growers who must meet federal produce safety rules.

The trainings provide science-based, minimum standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce that will help to strengthen the food safety system by focusing on prevention of foodborne illnesses. The produce safety rules are part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act that requires at least one supervisor or other responsible person from a covered produce farm to attend one of the trainings. To determine if you need to participate, visit the Safe Wisconsin Produce website at safeproduce.wi.gov and click on “Is your farm covered?”

Locally, our nearest training will be on Thursday, February 7, at the St. Croix County Ag Service Center, 1960 8th Ave., Baldwin. Training will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with check-in starting at 7:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required in advance. 

To register, visit fsmaproducesafety.wiscweb.wisc.edu/registration and submit your application online or download the paper application to mail it. You can also contact your county UWEX office for a paper application. Cost is $65 per person and includes training materials, certificate, and meals. Instructors from DATCP, UW-Madison, UWEX, industry, and farmer organizations will cover the following on-farm food safety practices: using quality standards for agricultural water; managing risks associated with manure applications; avoiding contaminants from animals; training workers on health and hygiene practices; evaluating cleanliness of equipment, tools, and buildings; and developing food safety plans.

Wisconsin ranks 11th in the nation in number of produce farms, and second in number of organic produce farms. There are an estimated 1,100 Wisconsin farms that must meet the federal produce safety rules.

For more information visit DATCP’s Safe Wisconsin Produce website, call (608) 224-4511, or email safeproduce@wi.gov.