Free texting service helps growers teach workers about produce safety
To help growers and supervisors overcome produce safety challenges, MSU Extension has created a free farm worker-focused, on-farm produce safety texting service.
Building a food safety culture requires repeated reminders about farm policies and procedures. When a grower or supervisor has to manage many farm workers that are working in different areas at the farm or facility, this can be very difficult. It’s also a challenge to keep a record of these repeated reminders.
To help growers and supervisors overcome these challenges, Michigan State University Extension has created a farm worker-focused, on-farm produce safety texting service. Once weekly during normal business hours, people who sign up for the texting service will receive a text to remind them of core concept related to on-farm produce safety. The texts are short, engaging and available in English and Spanish. This service is a simple, effective way to reinforce important produce safety concepts without spending a lot of time or money on additional training.
Because a grower also needs a record that food safety training has occurred, individual growers or supervisors can sign up to receive quarterly reports via email. The reports would provide supervisors a basic report about which farm workers opened the text messages and what messages they received.
To sign up for this record keeping feature, a grower or supervisor would only need to provide an email address where a farm code could be sent. Farm workers will be prompted to enter their farm’s code and their initials after they have viewed each text, and supervisors will receive a quarterly report via email detailing their worker’s engagement in the training initiative.
Concerned your farm workers aren’t tech savvy enough for text messaging? We also have a limited number of posters with these text messages (both English and Spanish) that we can mail to individual farms so they can post them for their crews.
All of this is free of charge to Michigan farms. To sign up, farm workers can text “Training” to 888-531-2157. Para el servicio en Espanol, text “capacitar.”
If you have specific questions about the On-farm Produce Safety Texting Service or have difficulty tailoring GAPs to your farm, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-788-4292.
Funding for this article and the service was made possible in part by the Food and Drug Administration through grant PAR-16-137. The views expressed in the written materials do not necessarily reflect the official policies if the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.