Purdue Extension is now offering in an online format a course covering food safety practices for fruit and vegetable growers.
The course is based on a series of Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z workshops that were given in the spring.
"Food safety continues to be a major issue in the produce industry," said Scott Monroe, co-chair of Purdue Extension's Produce Food Safety Team and Extension educator in Daviess County. "We have been receiving requests for trainings from across the state. The new online workshop will allow us to better accommodate those who are in need of training in a more timely fashion than allowed by a traditional face-to-face event."
The training will cover health and hygiene, water quality and treatment, animals and animal products, sanitation on the farm, documentation and recordkeeping, and farm food safety plans.
The goals of the course are to present current science-based information on how to reduce risk of contamination during the production of fruits and vegetables and to provide practical knowledge on planning and documenting food safety practices at all stages of the process.
Farmers who produce fresh fruit and vegetables can satisfy Indiana State Department of Health food safety training requirements by completing the course. They must pass the assessment at the end of each lesson with a score of at least 90 percent to receive a certificate. There is no limit to the number of attempts for each lesson.
Registration cost for individuals is $30. Those interested can register at www.distance.purdue.edu/gaps. Participants will have access to the course materials for three months. Anyone not completing the training by then would need to register for the course again. Those who encounter any technological problems while taking the course should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.