Signup for Washington produce safety workshop

Three workshops in Washington state next week will help farmers adhere to produce safety guidelines under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.

The workshops are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. They are:

• May 20: Washington State University Spokane County Extension office, 222 N. Havana St., Spokane.

• May 21: Blue Mountain Action Council, 1520 Kelly Place, Walla Walla.

• May 23: WSU Extension, 97 Oak Bay Road, Port Hadlock-Irondale.

The National Young Farmers Coalition and Washington Young Farmers Coalition, serving farmers with less than 10 years of experience, will host the workshops.

The program covers practices for growing, harvesting, packing and holding fresh produce, said Maggie Kaiser, food safety training coordinator for the national coalition.

The workshop helps farmers learn what’s in the law, including those who might fall under exemptions within the law, Kaiser said.

According to the coalition, all non-exempt fruit and vegetable farms will be required by law to have at least one owner or managerial staff member on site who has attended an approved FSMA Produce Safety Rule training.

Even exempt farms will be required to keep certain records, which will be covered in the workshop.

“We encourage all growers to get educated about the rule,” Kaiser told the Capital Press. “There’s always room for improvement in farm environments for growing produce more safely.”

The training helps identify and address areas of risk on the farm, Kaiser said.

Kaiser said she doesn’t see any indication of changes to the law under the Trump administration.

“We just hope we are able to highlight some very practical and easy, inexpensive ways to implement better food safety practices on a farm,” she said. “We try to put it into what’s already happening on the farm.”

Cost is $35.

For more information, contact Kaiser at maggie@youngfarmers.org