With options for classes in January, June and September, three produce inspection training programs will be offered next year at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, Va. The program dates are January 14-18, June 3-7, and September 16-20, according to a news release from the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Foundation.
“This course prepares produce handlers to better understand the complexities of product quality inspection,” Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of foundation member services, said in the release. “We continue to see many new and returning companies take advantage of the hands-on, practical format offered in this unique program.”
Charles Parrot, deputy administrator for the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Fruit and Vegetable Program, said in the release that courses in the past 12 years have helped more than 850 produce industry members become more familiar with the way inspections are conducted.
The program is offered in two courses, “Fundamentals of Produce Inspection” and “Commodity Labs.” The “fundamentals” course is a prerequisite of the commodity labs course and covers inspection essentials, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, sampling procedures and general market principles.
The “commodity labs” course includes the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes, and is customized with other commodities based on attendee preferences, with up to 12 commodities covered.
Class size is limited to 32 and participants are accepted on a first-come basis, according to the release. The registration fee for United Fresh members for the introductory course is $895, while the advanced course is $1,225. Both courses together can be combined for a discounted rate of $1,925.