MADISON—The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is offering virtual food safety training to help produce farmers comply with the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). In-person training was suspended earlier this year to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Farms covered by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) PSR are required to have at least one person attend an approved food safety class. DATCP, in cooperation with the Produce Safety Alliance, is offering two eight-hour, two-day online courses that meet FSMA and PSR requirements. The courses will be held on:

  • Nov. 17-18, 2020, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 15-16, 2020, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The courses will help produce growers understand how their farm’s practices stack up against PSR regulations. Farmers also will learn more about exceptions and exemptions available under the rule. The course will cover key areas of the PSR, including:

  • Introduction to produce safety
  • Worker health, hygiene and training
  • Soil amendments
  • Wildlife, domesticated animals and land use
  • Agricultural water
  • Post-harvest handling and sanitation
  • How to develop a farm food safety plan

The course is free, but attendees must register at least two weeks before the course date at Participants must be able to engage through video and audio during the training, so access to a reliable internet connection and a computer or tablet with AV capabilities is critical. After attending the course, participants can request an Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO) Certificate of Completion, which satisfies a key requirement for farms covered by the PSR.

Wisconsin is second in the nation in number of certified organic farms, and more than 1,000 farms are covered by the PSR. Wisconsin’s agriculture industry has a $104.8 billion impact on the state’s economy, and about one in nine people working in the state hold a job related to agriculture.

For more information about the FSMA or PSR, visit the Safe Wisconsin Produce website.

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