Produce safety for growers
Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased in the U.S. in recent years, but this has also been accompanied by an increase in produce-associated food borne disease outbreaks. Produce has been associated with people getting sick and even dying from Salmonella, Listeria and E. Coli. Since many types of produce are not cooked before eating, it is essential that produce growers and all those handling produce along the chain to the consumer use the safest practices possible to ensure the safety of their produce.
In response to this growing number of produce-related food safety outbreaks, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, with a goal of preventing contamination in the U.S. food supply instead of responding to contamination issues. Produce safety is one of the key focus areas of FSMA, with the final produce safety rules released in November 2015.
Food Safety Specialist Londa Nwadike works jointly for University of Missouri Extension and K-State Extension to provide information and resources for produce growers in Kansas and Missouri. The goal is to improve the safety of the fruits and vegetables they grow, as well as to meet the requirements of FSMA and third-party audits such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).