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Cooperative Extension Service workshops Teach Growers Best Practices to Safeguard Food Supply

By Tracy Courage

U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Cooperative Extension Service offers training to help Arkansas produce growers comply with federal rules and obtain needed certification
  • Workshops will be offered in Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jonesboro
  • $35 to attend; register at www.uaex.edu/producesafety

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LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service will offer produce safety training workshops, designed to help Arkansas producers comply with new federal training requirements designed to safeguard the U.S. food supply.

There will be three workshops, offered in the central, northeastern and northwestern areas of the state.

The training, developed by the Produce Safety Alliance and presented by the Cooperative Extension Service, helps growers understand regulatory requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. The rule is the first federally regulated standard for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce.

Training will be offered 8 a.m-5 p.m. at these sites: 

  • Feb. 11 – Cooperative Extension Service, 2301 S. University Ave., Little Rock
  • March 17 – Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences, 1371 W. Altheimer Dr., Fayetteville
  • April 14 – Craighead County Extension Office, 611 E. Washington Ave., Jonesboro 

Topics covered will include agricultural water, soil amendments, worker health and hygiene, wildlife management, post-harvest handling, and food safety plans. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, which satisfies the Produce Safety Rule training requirement.

“Many Arkansas growers are affected by this,” said Amanda Perez, assistant professor for agriculture and natural resources for the Division of Agriculture. “Ultimately, the goal is to reduce microbial contamination and food-borne illness outbreaks.”

Participants must register in advance. Registration is $35 and includes lunch, snacks and beverages. For more information or to register, visit www.uaex.edu/producesafety.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

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