Food Safety Workshop for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

08 Jun 2011
Workshop Dates and Locations
July 14, 2011 Muscatine, IA
August 4, 2011 Lewis, IA

AMES, Iowa: Growers interested in improving food safety and post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables can learn both at a Farm to ISU and Iowa State University Extension sponsored workshop on June 23, 2011, 8:00am, ISU Horticulture Station – Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (

The workshop will also cover the implications of recent federal food safety legislation on small growers as well as the opportunity to become a vendor to Iowa State University.

“Fruit and vegetable growers work to deliver a safe product from farm to table,” said Margaret Smith, program coordinator with ISU Extension's value added agriculture program, and co-team leader for the workshops. “This may require additional planning and implementation of new practices and protocols on the farm.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s good agricultural practices (GAPs) address microbial food safety hazards for unprocessed fruits and vegetables from the farm to retail.

“These good agricultural and management practices are important to ensure safety as well as quality of most fruits and vegetables sold to consumers or retail foodservices in the unprocessed form," said Cathy Strohbehn, ISU Extension specialist, associate professor of hotel and restaurant and institution management, and workshop co-team leader.

"There are actions producers can take at each step - growing, harvesting, washing, sorting, packing and transporting – to meet these objectives, with the added benefit of presenting a competitive advantage within the market,” Strohbehn said.

“On-farm food safety is critical to both the grower and the consumer,” said ISU Dining – Farm to ISU Coordinator – Courtney Long. “This specific workshop highlights important steps for producers to take.”

Topics to be covered during this full-day workshop include microbial risks, the regulatory landscape, production and safety issues and information about how to develop a farm food safety plan based on GAPs principles. We will also include lunch and a 4:00pm overview of the steps farmers must take to successfully sell to ISU Dining.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion of On Farm Food Safety Training, suitable for framing at points of sale. Also, in addition to completing the workshop, if producers are interested in selling to Iowa State Dining, there is a brief quiz that must be completed to satisfy that the GAP workshop training has been completed. (This quiz is only required to address the completion of the workshop)

Fees for the GAP, Farm to ISU workshops are $25.00 per person and free for second family or business member, which includes take home reference materials, lunch and refreshments. ISU Dining will reimburse the registration fee for those farmers currently cleared to sell to ISU Dining. Farmers who are cleared before or on the day of the workshop will also have their registration fee reimbursed.

The Farm to ISU workshops are partially funded by a two-year competitive grant to Nancy Levandowski and Farm to ISU by the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

The workshops were developed as part of a competitive grant to Strohbehn and Smith from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Paul Domoto, ISU Extension specialist and professor of horticulture, and Lester Wilson, ISU professor of food science and human nutrition are additional project team members on this grant. More information about the project can be found at

Established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act, the Leopold Center supports the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources. More information about the Leopold Center is available on the web at:, or by calling the Center at 515-294-3711.

ISU Dining: Farm to ISU Coordinator
Courtney Long: 515-294-2892
For more information about this workshop please refer to the Farm to ISU website at

Cathy Strohbehn, Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, 515-294-3527,
Margaret Smith, Value Added Agriculture Program, 515-290-4456,

Workshop Dates and Locations:

July 14 –Muscatine Island Farm, Muscatine, IA
PO Box 40
111 North Street
Fruitland, IA 52749

August 4—Armstrong Research Farm, Lewis, IA
53020 Hitchcock Avenue
Lewis, IA 51544

Register Online for the Workshops!

For questions about workshops or registration, please contact Courtney Long at 515-294-2892 or For more information, visit

AGENDA for GAPs and On-Farm Food Safety Workshop

9:00 – 9:15
Introductions and Pre-workshop assessment

9:15 – 9:45
Is produce really safe? Microbial risks
Overview of disease causing organisms associated with produce grown organically and conventionally.

9:45 - 10:00 Food Safety Culture and the Regulatory Landscape; Internal and external forces impacting the safety of food

10:00-11:00 Tour Farm

11:00-12:00 Good Agricultural Practices: Production and Safety Issues
There is a direct connection between how produce is grown and the level of contamination found on the product that the consumer receives. Best practices in the growing of fresh produce can reduce the chances for pathogen contamination of your product and ensure product quality.

12:00-12:45 LUNCH

12:45- 2:15 Post Harvest Handling: Production and Safety Best Practice
What happens after the product is harvested also affects food safety risks and product quality. Best practices result in a win-win.

2:15 – 2:45 The Paper Chase: Developing your Food Safety Plan
Documentation that best practices are used on your farm provides the proof that many buyers want. GAPs audit forms, SOPs, and traceability measures will be discussed.

2:45 – 3:00 BREAK

3:00- 4:30 What Would You Do?
Identify workable strategies to resolve decision cases related to common on-farm food safety issues. Participants will have the opportunity to work with real farm situations in problem solving and designing changes to improve food safety.

4:30-5:00 Selling to an Institution - ISU Dining (this session optional for those farmers currently cleared to sell to ISU Dining)
An overview of ISU Dining purchasing protocol, produce specifications, selling procedures and contracts.

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