On-Farm Readiness Reviews
Your Next Step towards FSMA Compliance is a FREE On-Farm Readiness Review!
Heather Borden, FSMA Produce Safety Rule Logistics Coordinator
Many growers of fresh produce want to know how ready they are with regards to being FSMA compliant. In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of FSMA, Cooperative Extension has developed an On-Farm Readiness Review program. This article helps growers walk through the next steps.
Many fresh produce growers have heard of the new Food Safety Modernization Act, but they may be unsure how it applies to them. Growers who have already attended a Produce Safety Training now have an overview of what the Produce Safety Rule is about, but many are wondering how to apply what they learned to their specific farming operation.
In an effort to get people ready for a full implementation of FSMA, Cooperative Extension and State Departments of Agriculture have teamed up with Conservation Districts to develop an On-Farm Readiness Review program (OFRR). An OFRR will allow a fresh produce grower and a team of trained professionals the opportunity to walk through their operation, step by step, to see what things they’re doing right, and what they need to improve and problem solve. This walk-through will help a grower gauge how ready they are for an inspection and give them ideas about how to make inexpensive changes (if necessary) to meet the new food safety requirements. This is a voluntary and confidential service, so what happens on the farm, stays on the farm. Best of all, it is no cost to growers!
A key starting point to doing the On-Farm Readiness Review is attending the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training. This is a one-day course offered by MSU Extension in the fall, winter and early spring around the state. The grower training course introduces the key concepts about food safety that the FSMA Produce Safety Rule regulates. After attending this course, a grower will receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials.
Once the Training is complete, a grower should register for an on farm readiness review by following For questions about On-Farm Readiness Reviews, contact Heather Borden at firstname.lastname@example.org.