UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension has developed curriculum materials for Plain Sect (Amish, Mennonite) growers to help them meet training requirements established in the federal Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule.
The educational materials are aimed at accommodating those Amish produce growers who do not prefer computer or other electronic training materials and are designed to be presented in a way that reflects their unique farming practices and learning preferences. Penn State Extension estimates that more than half of all vegetables grown in Pennsylvania are produced by Plain Sect growers.
IMAGE: Penn State Extension
The educational materials are aimed at accommodating those Amish produce growers who do not prefer computer or other electronic training materials and are designed to be presented in a way that reflects their unique farming practices and learning preferences.
The Food Safety Modernization Act — often referred to as FSMA — requires covered produce farms to have training programs in place that teach harvesters and handlers how to comply with standards set by the law.
The curriculum materials consist of two main resources: the FSMA Produce Grower Training Slide Set and the Training Flip Chart for Amish Harvesters and Handlers of Fresh Produce.
The Grower Training Slide Set is a reusable printed form of the Produce Safety Alliance slide set, in three-ring binders, that was created with the intent of being presented along with the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Manual, according to Luke LaBorde, Penn State professor of food science. The grower manual is available for ordering at the Produce Safety Alliance web site.
“Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these slide set books are available at no cost except postage,” he said. He added that there is a limit of 20 books when ordering. To place an order, email LaBorde at firstname.lastname@example.org for a code and instructions.
The slide set books include the following sections: “Introduction to Produce Safety,” “Worker Health, Hygiene and Training,” “Soil Amendments,” “Wildlife, Domesticated Animals and Land Use,” “Agricultural Water — Production Water, Agricultural Water and Post-Harvest Water,” “Postharvest Handling and Sanitation,” and “How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan.”
The Training Flip Chart is a durable, reusable 44-page product that was created with small-scale Plain Sect growers in mind, LaBorde explained. It includes more than 35 professionally drawn images that reflect Amish-centric growing activities and farm food safety good agricultural practices.
“The FSMA Produce Safety Rule requires covered produce farms to have training programs in place that teach harvesters and handlers basic hygiene and sanitary practices for preventing produce contamination,” said Laborde. “The material covered in this flip chart meets the worker training requirements established in this regulation.”
The Training Flip Charts are available for a nominal fee to cover printing and distribution costs.
For more information, or to order these educational materials, go to Penn State Extension’s Amish Farm Food Safety Curriculum Materials website or contact LaBorde at 814-863-2298 or email@example.com.