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Could Canadian Hort Council’s Food Safety Training Kit Be Applied To
US Growers?

A hat tip to Albert F. Chambers, President of Monachus Consulting, for passing on word that the Canadian Horticultural Council is now distributing a resource kit:

Canadian Horticultural Council to Release On-farm
Food Safety Training Kit for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Farmers

The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), a national, not-for-profit industry association, is set to release an on-farm food safety (OFFS) training resource kit for fresh fruit and vegetable farmers this month.

Since the late 1990s, the CHC has been taking a proactive approach to food safety on the farm by developing a national on-farm food safety program for Canadian producers and packers of horticultural products. In order to reassure buyers and maintain a high level of consumer confidence in Canadian produce, the CHC has been working with the industry to develop eight commodity-specific OFFS Manuals for use by producers and packers.

The OFFS program is intended to bring into focus the potential sources of microbiological, chemical and physical hazards for produce from field through shipping point. Through CHC, industry has been at the forefront in developing a scientifically sound program that will meet consumer and buyer needs, while remaining cost-effective and realistic for producers and packers. The technical documents are vetted by a government review team as part of the Canadian On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program.

The new training kit consists of hand washing signage, informational brochures, frequently asked questions, a CD-ROM, etc. “It’s an excellent resource for producers and packers to use to train their employees in food safety and work through the CHC On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Manuals,” said CHC Executive Vice-President Anne Fowlie. “It highlights the five Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) which are the cornerstones of on-farm food safety, and also provides supplementary information to help assess and manage on-farm food safety hazards.”

The training kit will be distributed to all members of the CHC. Public access to the materials will also be available on a cost-recovered basis.

To encourage program uptake and implementation of the new training tools, the CHC facilitated a “Train-the-Trainer” pilot session in Ottawa in November, designed for potential on-farm food safety trainers from the industry who wanted to further enhance their knowledge of the CHC OFFS program. The three-day workshop instructed participants on how to deliver an OFFS training session to producers and packers. Twenty-five provincial representatives from across the country took part.

The CHC gratefully acknowledges the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which has provided funding for the development of the CHC On-Farm Food Safety program under the Agricultural Policy Framework, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

You can read the release in French here.

And find more information on the program here.

Seems like the authorities in Canada are working constructively with the industry to advance the cause of food safety down on farm level. We wonder, though, whether there are any food safety procedures that are both appropriate for the vast, continental expanse of Canada but would not make sense for the U.S.?

Maybe we could cooperate a bit and save some money developing duplicative materials?

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