United Fresh, USDA offer inspection classes
The next session of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association’s produce inspection training program is set for May 21-25 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s training center in Fredericksburg, Va. It also will be offered Sept. 10-14.
The program uses USDA instructors to provide hands-on training designed to help produce receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the produce inspection process. A discount in registration fees is available for United Fresh members.
Class size is limited and registrations are on a first come, first served basis. Details are available at http://tinyurl.com/UF-training or by calling (202) 303-3405. Two separate classes are offered. Attendees can attend either or both classes.
“Fundamentals of Produce Inspection” is a two-day class focusing on inspection essentials, sampling procedures and general market principles. It is a prerequisite for the other class, “Commodity Labs.”
The labs class is three days and applies the principles learned in the inspection class to the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes. Up to seven additional commodities will be included based on the attendees’ most common preferences.
University releases leafy greens research
The University of Georgia has completed a four-year research project on minimizing E. coli in leafy greens and has launched a website to share the findings.
The project — “A systems approach to minimize Escherichia coli O157:H7 food safety hazards associated with fresh and fresh-cut leafy greens” — involved numerous researchers and representatives from the fresh produce industry. It looked at leafy greens from farm to fork to find ways to retain the quality of leafy greens while ensuring food safety.
The new website, www.ugacfs.org/producesafety/Index.html, not only includes results of the four-year project, but it also provides food safety tips for growers, shippers and others in the supply chain. There is also a collection of tables that contain a compilation of peer-reviewed studies that address the safety of leafy greens.
The steering committee for the research project included several representatives from the supply chain, such as staff from: Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif.; Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, Calif.; Whole Foods Market Inc., Austin, Texas; and Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.