Produce Safety Rule Exemptions and Resources for Small Farms – Webinar November 2, 2017

Produce Safety Rule Exemptions and Resources for Small Farms – Webinar November 2, 2017


this webinar is understanding the
FSMA produce safety rule and it’s intended for the small produce farms we
have myself in several other speakers today and they will introduce themselves
in just a few moments but they’re all listed on this title slide welcome to
the webinar we really wanted to pull people together and talk about the FSMA
produce safety rule as it relates to smaller size produce farms a lot of this
information you might already know a lot of it I’m sure many of you do already
know but what we wanted to do is to pull all the information into one place so
that especially those of you who work directly with small farms we’re trying
to give a comprehensive view in an organized way so that you have the type
of information that the small farms need to know most of you who are online are
part of an organization that helps farms and some of you are already helping
farms with produce safety they’re land-grant university extension units
grower organization the state departments of agriculture or health
other regulatory agencies the three groups that are working together on this
webinar were created through cooperative collaborative agreements with FDA the
produce safety Alliance the Native American tribes outreach education and
training program the local foods producer outreach education and training
program we have representatives from each of those programs online today so
the first thing we’re going to do is go through a series of introductions so
that you’re aware of what those organizations are who is working through
those organizations and what their roles are so I that now we can turn it over to
Betsy Bihn who is my boss she happens to be sitting across the desk from me
because I’m in Geneva New York today and Betsy I’ll pass it over to you it’s
great to have an opportunity to be on this webinar and essentially welcome
everyone and give a little bit of a description about the produce safety
Alliance the produce safety Alliance has been around since 2010 it was a
cooperative agreement established between Cornell FDA and USDA and in our
original cooperative agreement it really tasked us with focusing on outreach and
education to small and very small farms one of the interesting things that’s
evolved over time as you recognize 2010 is before the rule was written and
before her all the exemptions were put into play
why this webinar is very interesting for us is that many of the farmers who are
small and very small are exempt or excluded from the rule so this idea of
assisting with meeting regulatory requirements got kind of interesting as
as time went on and we saw the final rule but what I kind of want to talk
about given the context of this is what the produce safety Alliance overall sort
of perspective is we are definitely focused on training and providing
information for all growers it does not matter the size of the farm or the type
of operation we are truly interested in providing information and training to
all growers and there have been discussions about ok if you’re talking
about a regulation that I’m excluded from or exempted from you know why would
PSA be valuable and the one thing I will say is that I truly believe that
knowledge is power and we want our growers to be prepared and to understand
things that influence their industry even if they themselves are not subject
to it and the reason for that is that food safety impacts them all it may not
impact them all by being subject to a regulation but it definitely impacts
them because the safety of their product is critical to success and critical to
the economic success I should clarify of their farms in addition buyers have
requirements related to food safety and we’re starting to see some alignment
with buyer requirements and things that we see in the regulation despite the
fact that the first implementation dates have not yet come to pass so
understanding the proto safety rule is really really really important and even
if they’re not subject I think there’s really good information in the
curriculum and in the training materials to help them understand that in terms of
how the PSA functions collaboration is the key to our success I think a lot of
good things have happened with the PSA in terms of our outreach training and
education since 2010 but I will tell you that success is really founded on
collaboration and it’s not just what happens in this
office or in the offices of the regional extension associates it really is it is
key to having other people at other places which is why really appreciate
the collaboration for this webinar we absolutely appreciate different
perspectives and a willingness to find common goals on how to get something
done I think stakeholders are always first in
our mind we understand that not all farms are the same not all farmers are
the same they have different goals they have different production strategies
they have different they grow different commodities sell into different markets
so we understand that it’s not a one-size-fits-all and part of what I
really enjoyed about the produce a client since the addition of the
Regional Extension Associates is we get to see a lot more of that diversity in
terms of our discussions and things that impact how we set goals within the team
and so really when I think about the broader aspect of the Produce Safety
Alliance really our focus is on meeting those stakeholder needs whatever they
are understanding that they’re highly variable and and the goal becomes
reducing microbial risk to fresh produce on all the farms and to me the crux of
that is that this is what’s going to support economic viability of farms and
I really believe that without understanding food safety our growers
put the economic viability of their farms at risk because of not meeting
market demand and then also the risk of not meeting regulatory expectations when
they come to pass so with that that’s my few minutes I just appreciate being part
of this and look forward to the rest of the webinar thank you so much for
including us today my name is Jamie hip I’m a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation
and I am the director of the indigenous food and agriculture initiatives at the
University of Arkansas school of law our we are very honored and very
appreciative of working alongside our partners there at PSA but also the local
food safety and all the other region all players who are really diligently
trying to get the word out and do as much training as possible and but I will
I will share with you that we look at things slightly different and there’s a
reason why the indigenous food and agriculture initiative was founded in
2013 at the University of Arkansas School of Law and I’m the director of
that initiative and we have a very broad staff made up of folks who really
specialize if you look that final point on our focus of our initiative over
three key areas our staff are living in the intersection of Agriculture and food
law and Indian law we focus very much on tribal governance around food and
agriculture strategic assistance to Native owned and operated farms ranches
and food businesses to do an overarching goal of improving tribal food systems
and we not just in food safety but across an entire portfolio of work we
work in training technical assistance education outreach research and all
sorts of programming specifically designed to literally be in that unique
space we were awarded a cooperative agreement with FDA and and through that
we also work USDA’s on all of our phone calls do but
to provide outreach education training and technical assistance around the
produce safety and preventive controls rules but we are honestly getting as
many questions around the entire portfolio of rules that are that are
rolling out of the Food Safety Modernization Act because tribal
governments tribal communities trouble food businesses farms and ranches are
very much active and very much present we constantly do surveys in the
assessment not only for this particular program but for our entire portfolio and
we do a lot of outreach and education we’re working on alternative curriculum
that would really tailor the rules as they stand in the food safety arena for
a tribal audience as well as have some specific communication focus areas that
we work on just to improve how these rules are integrated within the native
food systems that that exist and are thriving and are actually growing quite
rapidly and I’ll share just a little side note that Betsy shared as
well we are already seeing that for those foods that are grown on
reservation or tribal lands or within Native communities and the markets are
already moving in a place where even if you are a smaller size grower which a
lot of tribal operations are not they tend to be a little bit larger and the
market access is very dependent on on showing some sort of familiarity and
working compliance with the rules as they stand right now so we’re very
excited to be a part of this team and I’ll just turn it over and stay on the
line that’s great Thank You Janie and just so everybody knows there are a
couple of slides in this presentation that deals specifically with tribal
issues and rather than switch presenters I’m going to I’m going to present those
slides but there will be time for questions and answers and I think Janie
you will have some good insights during the discussion after this panel can I
turn it over to local foods Chelsea do you want to go first yeah great video
perfect all right hi my name is Chelsea Madison
I am the FSMA project coordinator here at National Farmers Union so we just
give you some background on our organization we were founded in 1902 in
Point Texas so we’re a little over 100 years old we represent
roughly 200,000 family farmers and ranchers which is why we were really
excited about getting involved with this previous safety work as an organization
we work to make sure throughout education such as our beginning farmers
Institute Women’s Conference we are about to start a new online conference
in December which is actually going to have two different business related
presentations so we’re looking forward to that we also work in legislation and
we kind of have this three-point triangle we are a grassroots structure
all of our policy positions start at the local level and then they move upward to
the state level and national level our national policy is that we lobby here in
DC and that’s voted on yearly at our annual convention this year that’s going
to be in Kansas City Missouri and we’re going to be doing a PSA grower training
there on March 2nd and then the last bit is a risk cooperation and making sure
that we have cooperative education and business so the work that we do for food
safety and FSMA is called local food safety collaborative we have a
cooperative agreement with the FDA to provide outreach education and training
to small local producers and processors similar to the tribal agreement we are
also focusing on the proto safety rule under brent of controls rule
more specifically the human foods rule but I also wanted to echo what Betsy
said you know our our project is targeting small very small fruits and
processors Mixtec facilities a lot of these folks are going to be exempt or
qualified exempt so our hope is to ensure that there are still trainings
available for these folks ensure that they have the tools to plan for FSMA as
is going to affect them and then we want to make sure growers can keep growing
we don’t want FSMA to be another barrier that farmers have to overcome to
make a profit as Betsy said knowledge is power growers
can’t comment on changes to the rule or no should they come in the future or
talk to their government officials about how the rule is practically working on
their farm unless they know what it is farmers union is dedicated the civic
engagement and making sure that these growers are trained it’s going to really
help everybody moving into the future the main objectives of our project we
are we just finished a needs assessment survey on October 31st somehow so we’re
going to be analyzing that data we are just doing an assessment to help inform
the types of resources we should be developing to assist local producers we
have been doing a lot of outreach and education attending conferences and
conventions where small growers are to provide introductory if there’s no
workshops and presentations and see I’ll start pointing people towards this is
what this man is this is where you can get training very similar to the webinar
we are also we are also hosting now full PSA grower trainings we’ve helped to
host a few PSA train the trainer’s and covering fee costs there we also have
this grow early as a model which is being performed by an organization
called the Deep South food Alliance they’re working on providing specialized
on-farm assistance to minority and disadvantaged growers in Alabama
Mississippi and then for communication we have a website local food safety or
local food safety org we have a Facebook and a Twitter we have a quarterly
newsletter that you can sign up for on our website to see what our projects
been up to sign your moves next slide and then these are our main partners on
the project National Young Farmers coalition the Deep South food Alliance
as I mentioned before the Maryland Department of Agriculture Cornell
University or the proto Safety Alliance New England Farmers Union and the
Washington State Department of Agriculture in order to approach this
project we really thought it was gonna be important to have representatives
from the department’s of Ag education as well as farmer facing organizations to
make sure we were approaching it in the best way possible for growers and having
input from all sides in addition to these partners we also have a couple
other sub Awards with a variety of farmers union state divisions if you
have a Farmers Union year wherever you are please reach out to them and they
will make sure that you get connected with resources we are also working with
for two organic growers the Midwest organic and sustainable education
service so Moses the Community Alliance of family farmers calf sat is out in
California and then I think that’s about it so with that I would like to turn it
over to Cara Fraver who is with National Farmers coalition thank you honey
everybody I’m Cara fraver I’m the Business Services Director for the
National Young Farmers coalition as Chelsea just said we’re really excited
to be on this webinar today and are thrilled to be part of the local food
safety collaborative with the Produce Safety Alliance and the indigenous food
and agriculture initiative I’d just like to give you a little background on the
National Young Farmers coalition we’re founded in 2010 by three young farmers
we are a chapter based policy and advocacy organization fighting for the
future of farming here in America we’re working on issues that face that young
farmers face in three ways the first way is through policy change at the state
level and at the national level we do that with our staff but also we help
young farmers and our chapters to advocate for themselves in their regions
by working with their elected officials they of course
know the things that the issues that affect their farms most so that’s kind
of some of the policy work that we do my work at the National young Farmers
coalition is and business services so we help farmers navigate some of the
complex regulatory issues that affect their businesses certainly FSMA is one
of those we also have some work around Farm Service Agency credit options and a
lot of work and land access around the country and other issues that can use a
little bit of a deep dive for farmers so that they don’t have to do all the
research themselves and then thirdly our sort of third arm is through grassroots
is work through grassroots chapter organizing so this slide that I have
says 37 chapters in 26 states but since we’ve made this slide we actually have
39 chapters in 28 state so yeah high five nationally on farmers coalition
plus us Washington DC I don’t really know how Washington DC it’s counted as
not a state of our state but anyway and those chapters do some of this work
similarly they advocate for political change in fact our Minnesota chapter
this year introduced like a complicated tax reform bill for young farmers was
very successful the chapters get together to buy collectively and host
one another an idea sharing workshops and that kind of business work and then
they also just form a strong social network with one another that’s
something we’ve certainly lost in our rural communities maybe in all of our
communities but certainly it’s maybe harkens back a little bit to some old
Grange models and they’re just farmers coming together to support one another
socially as well as from a business perspective so for my work with FSMA we
the National Young Farmers coalition has been working on creating starting to
create a guidebook based on some of the feedback from the local food safety
collaborative needs assessment and feedback that we get one-on-one
with farmers that we’re working with in workshops we’ve been working on a video
to reach produce farmers around the country many of whom are smaller our
diversified are likely to be using sustainable methods we have also both
the sort of the bulk of some of our work as this year has been to put on we put
on 10 PSA trainings in the last year training almost 300 farmers most of
those growers I’d say probably 80% of them that’s a guess we’re likely
qualified exempt that’s a term Don will talk about later but some of you might
be familiar with these farmers are unlikely to be inspected they’re not
going to get inspection by their Department of Agriculture or their other
regulatory body in terms of is bub but they were really most of them said that
they were really thankful and happy to learn about food safety from in in this
level of detail and at this point in their business and at this point in the
implementation of the FSMA rule and this is kind of example this is a great
grower in Missouri Liz and Liz’s farming about seven acres and it pretty
intensively and she kind of gave me this quote saying that food says she feels
that food safety especially harvest and post-harvest practices is one of the
most important aspects of growing food for the public and whether or not they
as mid small or mid-sized producers were exempt from the rule they should all be
thinking about produce safety and implementing food safety practices on
their farm Liz was really impressive to me and just that you know seven acres
that can be a pretty profitable small farm but liz has a you know of a small
lot system already in place they’re doing all kinds of training around food
safety and all kinds of sort of small-scale practices that work well for
the scope of her farm but are also kind of addressing some of the things put
forward in these training so she was just really
she was great to have her in the course and she was really an advocate for other
people other smaller farmers to attend training thanks Cara so the I think I
told you a little while ago that as the I’m the Midwest Regional Extension
associate for the produce safety Alliance and as we were working together
with the folks mostly in Minnesota in Wisconsin to put together the
train-the-trainer course for those who want to give trainings to growers in
particularly growers who were covered by the rule we were also talking about the
difficulty I suppose of compiling all the information in one place for those
who are not covered by the rule and that’s that’s really what hatched this
idea that is a it was a group effort to think about what are all the things that
an exempt small or qualified exempt grower might want to know about the
produce safety rule as we move into this and how is that information best get
given out to those who are working with those farmers and that’s that’s that’s
the point of this of this of this webinar so we’re talking about the the
FSMA we’re talking about the if I can there it is the Food Safety
Modernization Act produce safety rule is not the only part of the Food Safety
Modernization Act there are seven others it’s seven to six other rules that go
into that but all of those rules they’re meant to cover farm to fork they’re
meant to cover every step of the food chain focusing on prevention of food
safety issues many of our farms especially the small farms get a little
bit confused about the FSMA rules the produce safety rules versus the audits
that they’re used to dealing with so that’s the first thing we wanted to talk
about to get everybody on the same page is that the produce safety rule does not
require growers to have an audit both the audit system and the produce safety
rule have the intent to reduce food safety risks but it’s important to keep
in mind in to let growers know that the produce safety rule is a federal
regulation it could it applies to farms that are covered or subject to the rule
in some way driven by a federal law require a set of
requirements rather than a auditor a third party usually a third party
auditor inspected coming out to work with the farm it’s going to be a state
or a federal inspector and an important thing is that the FSMA produce safety
will only includes biological hazards it doesn’t include the chemical and
physical hazards that are part of a gaps audit the audits on the other side the
flip side of that coin that produce safety coin the audits are voluntary
they’re driven by access to markets they result in a GAP certification generally
audits are every year whereas the inspections we don’t have schedules yet
for inspections but it’s not a requirement to have the inspection each
year unless that’s how the state rolls out the program the audits tend to be
USDA and other third-party auditors rather than state and federal FDA
inspectors so although they’re the program’s helped to give some assurances
of produce safety they’re rolled out by different organizations for different
reasons and that’s that’s that leads to important distinctions for many of the
growers so then the next question is who’s covered by the FSMA proto safety
rule and I’ll use some of the language that’s important to know is
that farms it’s got to be a farm and the definition of a farm is written into the
various guide guidelines in fact sheets farms that grow pack hold and sell
covered produce which includes fruits vegetables nuts mushrooms and other
things that fall within the definition of produce but there are a lot of
exemptions and exclusions based on what type of produce who buys the produce
where is it eaten how much how much total produce and total food is sold and
that’s what we’re going to cover in the webinar one thing we like to say up
front and I think Betsy covered this well Janie covered it well and both Cara
and and Chelsea touched on it as well that our goal always is to have safe
produce to reduce produce safety risks covered or exempt that’s really one of
the goals that we try to convey to farms but now we’re going to talk about some
of the some of the the structure that that leads to that outcome
so it’s an ugly slide but I want to make sure everybody knows where to find some
key information on the FSMA produce safety rule web’s webpage at FDA you’ll
see you if you if you type it in you’ll find this page and if you go down to the
to the lower right corner about the final rule you’ll see a really really
really important set of documents in one of those documents is this flow chart
for exclusions and exemptions a farm can walk through this flow chart and
determine am i or am I not covered by the produce safety rule we’re going to
talk about those coverages and exclusions and we’ll talk about when
they are partial and the other things that the growers ought to know so this
this flow to the material we’re going through in the next few slides is a
compendium of the information that is covered in this flow chart
so the first exclusion is for the really really small operations if the average
value of produce sold in a three the previous three-year period is less than
$25,000 keep in mind that that’s adjusted for inflation using 2011 also
keep in mind that it’s all produce it doesn’t we’ll talk about whether it’s
covered produce or exempt produce in the next slide it’s all the produce that has
grown on the farm if it fits within the definition of produce and it’s sold then
it counts toward that $25,000 this is the first resource that as educators as
people who are who either are or are working with small farms you should know
and we’ll put this into the into the sheet of reference materials that we
that we send out after this webinar how are you going to get the three year
average value adjusted for inflation using 2011 as a baseline in March FDA
recently put out and well not that recently several months ago put out a
very handy webpage that goes through each one of the monetary the inflation
adjusted monetary values in the various rules of FSMA the URL will be in that
in that sheet that we hand out and so if you look at the circle number twenty six
thousand six hundred and thirty-two 2016 adjusted back to 2011 $25,000 is
$26,662 so it’s a very valuable resource to know year by year it’s
supposed to be updated every March year by year you’ll know what that
inflation adjusted value is second produce that’s exempt rarely consumed
raw produce FDA recently put out a fact sheet about how this rarely consumed raw
list was created that’s also going to be in your in in in the packet that we send
you if you look through that list I’ll leave it on this for just a moment so
you can look through that list and see what’s on the list maybe more important
a lot of viewers what’s not on that list if it’s not on that list it doesn’t get
the exemption for rarely consumed raw so this is this I believe the terminology
is this is an exhaustive list if it’s not on the list then it’s not exempt
before the rarely consumed raw provision how else can produce be exempt if the
produce is for personal or on-farm consumption while those are exempt
produce that receives commercial processing that adequately reduces the
presence of microorganisms of Public Health significance you and I might call
those pathogens we might call them things that make you sick usually the
things that give you diarrhea the most people were going to call this
the kill step provision so first thing that your farms might ask you is well
what are the things that adequately reduce the presence of microcosms of
Public Health significance you can refer to twenty to two more parts of the code
parts 113 114 and 120 but the rule itself gives some examples like the
creation of tomato paste creation of shelf-stable Tomatoes processes like
refining distilling or processing into sugars or oil spirits etc etc those are
all examples of processes that count as kill steps now if a farm is growing only
produce that is going into a kill step process that exemption is partial some
document got documentation is required so
a couple of things that are really valuable for you to know is that the
farm is going to make a written disclosure maybe it’s going to be on the
invoice maybe it’s going to be pasted to the package but these are the key words
on this slide not process to adequately reduce the presence of my pathogens in
return the buyer is going to provide written assurance to the farm that they
get that and that they are going to put the produce through a process that
adequately reduces the presence of pathogens so there’s this give-and-take
of documentation that the buyer knows that the that the produce was not grown
under conditions that that are adequate to reduce the presence and the buyer in
the and the grower knows that they’re selling into a process chain that
contains a kill step so that’s that’s one of the first important bits of
information that a person who doesn’t who is not required to take a training
course may still need to know about the produce safety rule farms that have both
types of produce both covered and exempt maybe they’re growing tomatoes that are
going to both Fresh Market and in to salsa salsa that gets treated the sales
of that produce whether it’s exempt or not counts into the sales volume and
then the the other part of the produce safety rule is the covered produce must
be kept separate from other commodities to avoid cross-contamination from one
one group to another many farms that you’re working with might say well you
know what I’m just going to treat it all the same whether it’s going into a kill
step or not so that I don’t have to keep track of what is what and then finally I
think Cara mentioned the the qualified exemption eligibility so this this one
gets a little bit convoluted and but is but it’s really important to a lot of
our farms that are small or very small small farms are growing remember $25,000
of produce is the limit if you’re less than that you’re not covered a very
small farm is between twenty five thousand and two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars worth of produce sales and the small farmers between two
hundred two hundred fifty thousand and five hundred thousand dollars worth of
produce sales so for those farms that are selling that amount of produce if
the consumer if the amount of food well let’s start at the top if
more than half of the sales is local or regional or to a consumer so there’s
gonna be a consumer anywhere or it can be a restaurant or retail food
establishment retail food establishments include things like grocery stores
restaurants include things like not just hospitals and in cafeterias but also pet
Kennels those are all qualified end-users more than half of the average
monetary value of food that the farm sold would have to go to qualified
end-users notice that I just highlighted the word food that’s all food that’s pet
food that’s animal food that’s dairy that’s meat that’s pies and jams all the
food that the farm sells goes into this number this is especially important
because the average annual monetary value of all foods that the farm sells
would need to be less than five hundred thousand dollars the quote just like the
kill step the qualified exemptions partial there has to be documentation of
eligibility for from three years of sales records because it’s the
three-year rolling average many of the farms are already keeping their sales
records as part of their financial record keeping what’s what’s new about
produce safety rule is it’s going to be important what portion of the sales more
than half of the sales need to be disqualified end-users in order to be
eligible for a qualified exemption there’s also a modified labeling
equipment a I’m sorry requirement that the farm must prominently and
conspicuously display at the point of purchase the name and complete business
address of the farm where the produce was grown on a label poster signer
placard we did ask one question of the tan and got a great response back that
if a farm is augmenting their the food that they’ve grown by buying from a soar
and store and selling at the at the at the stand how did they don’t know what
farm the produce was grown on and so the tan did resend a response that said that
the farm where the produce was grown is that is eligible for the qualified
exemption is the farm that is required to be late on the
label both the name and the complete business address at the point-of-sale
that’s that can be an important piece of information for many of us our small
farms who are selling it stands the other the other requirement and the rule
under the qualified exemption is that the written record of annual review and
self verification needs to be included we want to bring up the the special case
of some of the Native American tribes because as Janie said earlier there are
some complexities at the tribal nations that aren’t faced by other producers
those those complexities are tied to the political status the land based status
the the the the statement that state and local authorities don’t have
jurisdiction on tribal lands so there are some real issues that we may not all
be aware of associated with Native American tribes and those issues I think
are things that might be might be important to discuss during our
question-and-answer session the next question is when does the produce safety
rule go into effect the the effective date of the produce safety rule was
January 26th of 2016 and in the original rule there was two years four years or
three years or four years in addition to comply after the effective date so the
if so the compliance date for all other businesses those that are selling more
than $500,000 in produce is January of 2018
small businesses 2019 very small businesses 2020 the original produce
safety rule gave an additional two years for some of the agricultural water
requirements the there there’s a new proposed rule that got published almost
two months ago that would extend effective dates there I’m sorry extend
the compliance dates for all of subpart e everything having to do with
agricultural water on produce farms for six to eight years after the effective
date that’s a that’s a new development it’s a proposed rule not the final but
there’s the expectation that the water compliance dates are going to be pushed
for that’s mostly important to those who are covered by the produce safety rule
but it may also be important to those who face market
to operate under those same conditions to break down the compliance states for
the different modifications or partial partial exemptions we’ll start with the
the first bit retention of Records that support eligibility for a qualified
exemption this is where you’re going to be showing that your sales volume is
less than $500,000 in food in more than half goes to qualified end-users the
compliance state for that was January of 2016 this is documentation that farms
should be keeping now I know Aaron Silva Wisconsin is currently working on some
some template documentation the next one is the modified label requirements for
produce sold by qualified exempt farms that will be required
starting in January of 2020 the next one is all the other requirements for
qualified exempt farms that includes the annual review to support continued
eligibility for the qualified exemption the compliance dates for that depending
on the size of the farm are going to be either January of 2020 or January of
2019 the water provisions we already discussed that originally they were
January of 2022 or 2021 depending on the size of the
core of the farm but just keep in mind that those proposed that proposed rule
has extended those dates and then finally everything else for those who
are covered by the rule then the remainder of the rule the compliance
date is in 2020 2019 or 2018 depending on the size of the farm so there is
there is time in in in many cases for education prior to the compliance dates so we talked about exempt farms and we
talked about covered farms and we know that and we talked about the compliance
States for both covered farms and the portions of the rule that exempt farms
are still going to need to comply with as we develop the webinar we wanted to
make sure that those who work with small farms recognize that there are reasons
why exempt farms might still want to know about the FSMA rules and in
particularly the produce safety rule one of those reasons is their buyers
might be subject to the preventive controls rule for human foods under the
preventive controls rule for human foods the receiving facility if they’re not
controlling a hazard in house at the facility they need to have a supply
chain program that will ensure that will help them know that the the product
coming into the facility is a safe for human consumption so how do they do that
well if they are processing produce in some way they’re going to want to know
that the farm that created that that generated that grew that produce is
growing the produce under conditions there’s not introducing hazards into
that food the point is that the facilities that buy produce from farms
are required to control their potential hazards regardless of what the farm size
or coverage status is they’re going to be looking for produce that they know
has been grown under conditions that controls the risk to produce safety that
can affect market access so that’s one of the basic that’s one of the reasons
why growers who are exempt from the regulation might still have the buyer
requirements because the market still needs to ensure that to have some
assurance that the produce was grown under conditions some other reasons
exempt farms might wanted to learn more about the FSMA rules they may only sell
twenty five thousand dollars worth of produce this year but a successful farm
builds business year over year they may have buyers that allow them to be
qualified exempt this year but they may shift from qualified end-users to other
types of buyers over time and why why would they want training now now is a
great time to get the produce safety training in particular because right now
there’s a lot of support many of our collaborators across the country are
giving the produce safety training at at quite reduced rates and this is this is
this is a good time to get in on the effort to make sure that farms know what
the produce safety rule includes so that’s my segue it’s very subtle segue
into the training courses just a reiteration that some of the growth some
of our growers may be exempt from the regulation but they are not exempt from
the market and that every producer should have some
knowledge of produce safety and access to trade education and training how do
we do that well there are other there are over a hundred thousand produce
farms in the United States so it’s a really challenging goal FDA working with
PSA and USDA in our in our cooperative collaborative collaborative agreement
developed the PSA grower training curriculum it’s about seven hours it’s
about a full day of dedicated time at the completion of the course the growers
who go through the course get a certificate that’s that’s managed
through after and in the course they learn about the principles of produce
safety the worker health and hygiene soil amendments wildlife and
domesticated animals to different use conditions for agricultural water
post-harvest handling and sanitation in developing a farm food safety plan so
when they walk away they have an idea not just of the principles of produce
safety but also what are the requirements that are written into the
produce safety rule that training satisfies requirement of the produce
safety rule 112.22c that at least one supervisor or responsible party from
a farm that is suffered subject to the produce safety rule must have
successfully completed the food safety training course this is one course that
satisfies that requirement when the grower goes through the PSA grower
training course and walks away with the certificate they have evidence that
they’re complying with that that requirement of the produce safety rule
and again the training course covers both the requirements of the produce
safety rule and the good agricultural practices that are behind generating
safe produce the PSA training program is used by each one of the organizations
that that’s presenting here today in order to give the PSA training tour of
course the trainers must attend to train the trainer course it’s a PSA
train-the-trainer course and and that allows a person to become an instructor
of the PSA grower training the grower training courses do require that a lead
trainer be present I’m not going to spend another
of your time talking about that but we’ll distribute a link to the PSA
website so that you understand what is a trainer what is a lead trainer and how a
group can start to organize PSA grower training courses as one leg of education
about produce safety and compliance with produce safety rule I told you that
there are over a hundred thousand produce farms in the United States
that’s a lot of people the produce safety Alliance the local foods Alliance
the the tribal group food safety are we’re not large numbers of people we
rely on collaboration more than anything starting with the train-the-trainer
courses we’ve been fortunate that we’ve gotten more than a thousand people who
have gone through the training the trainer course so there are a lot of
trainers out there in the world who are capable of giving the produce safety
training at least for each one of those trainings you need to have a lead
trainer there are 180 people who are qualified to serve as lead trainer at
one of those training courses if you are looking for the training courses you can
go to the PSA website and there’s a tab on the PSA website that tells about the
upcoming courses you could also go to the trainer directory
it’s state-by-state you can look and see who is a trainer in your state or your
region and work with those people to ask them whether there’s a PSA training
course coming up and whether they would be interested in doing a PSA training
course 28th and 29th of November we’re giving a PSA train-the-trainer course
the registration recently filled we have 50 people coming for that so there will
be even more people who are available in the in the Upper Midwest region soon now
that I only focus on that because I’m the regional guy and and I think it’s a
interest to most of the people who because you’re from that region there
are other courses scheduled across the country and we’ve got a very active
program continuing to build the group of trainers what are those trainers doing
while they’re doing grower training courses since September of 2017 when the
program initiated we’ve trained more than 6,000 people in grower training
courses folks in the Upper Midwest have shared their calendars
and that we have a lot of grower training opportunities across the Upper
Midwest and across the country again if you want to know what is available for
you go to the training tab on the PSA site talk to your extension system and
find the food safety lead you can talk to me and I’ll help you find your food
safety lead that the extension site or some of the other organizations that are
working together to put on the grower training courses one of those groups is
the native is this the tribal group the tribal group has not just PSA grower
trainings but also comprehensive webinar series they deal with tribal specific
issues and what’s especially great about working with this group is that they
understand they have those they have that deep knowledge of the specific
issues with Indian law and jurisdiction and they can answer the questions from
growers who are on tribal lands the folks in the local foods group the
National Farmers Union is doing a growing for the future online conference
we have the URL for that you can do a web search or the URL for that will be
distributed with our with our materials after the webinar
they’re also organizing a PSA training in Montrose Colorado they’ve got one
organized in Iowa City so people who there are many options for
how to obtain training both PSA training and other information some of the other
information that’s that’s valuable is to know that there are two other alliances
supported by FDA for specific to FSMA the food safety preventive controls
alliance that covers the preventive controls rule for human foods and animal
foods and the sprout safety alliance which addresses that part of the sprout
safety alliance the those core the each one of those alliances puts on whoops
excuse me each one of those alliances puts on trainings that support those
those those rules under FSMA one thing that I do want to point out is that the
FSMA courses don’t involve this specifically the produce safety
rule course doesn’t take the place of existing gaps training
includes a lot of the components but some people aren’t some people who would
benefit from foundational training in gaps some people would benefit from
refresher training and gaps there are some resources available to help you in
your work with others the FDA has a lot of resources they’ve invested a lot into
education outreach guidance there’s the technical assistance network which you
you heard me refer to one of the questions and answers that we’ve gone
through the technical assistance network to get not just what our best
professional judgment is on what a person would do to comply with the rule
but to hear from FDA what do I need to do is what I’m doing going to help me
work with the rule technical assistance work network is a great resource for
that reason produce safety network is across the country
there to help us particularly those who are working who are implementing
prosafety rule across the country with their efforts and then there are a large
number of rules and guidance documents I would say thousands of pages of
documentation that’s available to help understand the rules and how those rules
can be applied the presenters who are on this webinar are great resources and
we’ll open up the we’ll open up to questions and answers in a few minutes
so that you can ask questions and each one of these people is available to help
us answer those questions that you have about produce safety rule in the region
or across the country and then that is particularly for the region I want to
make sure that everybody knows that these groups that are serving the needs
of farms in the produce safety rule are working in collaboration with and
side-by-side with many other reach any other organizations that are there to
help farms so these are also resources in your in your state’s in your region
that that are there to help out with produce safety rule questions and now
I’m done talking I want to I want to page up and input and leave that as the
slide and for the backdrop for any conversation that we’d like to have
there are 67 participants on the line I have one question in the question and
answer and I suppose with that what I want to do
is I will read the question out and and anybody who is on the panel should feel
free to join in and if you are one of the participants and you’ve got your
hand up I’d be happy to uh to make you a panelist so that you could chime in also
so the first question was does a trainer or lead trainer need to attend someone
else’s training to be certified for their from yeah would you take that
Betsy yeah this is Betsy Bihn so we had this early on this same issue where
we had growers who became trainers and then they were worried they needed the
grower or training certificate and we actually have a statement about this on
our website if you are a grower but you are also a trainer that is viewed as
meeting the 112.22c requirement because you’ve been through the training and in
fact probably know a little bit more because you’ve had to do all the
additional background training so so that is absolutely ok and you do not
need to go to a separate training with somebody else if you are a trainer thanks Betsy I will tell you that if
there’s anything that I’m that I have not covered I think this was fairly
comprehensive but especially if there’s something that I haven’t covered any of
the panelists should feel free to chime in while any of the participants are
formulating and putting questions into the chat box this is Janie I would just
add that we’ve been doing a monthly webinar series and all of that is all of
the all of the recordings for that are archived on our website and all you have
to do is just google um you know the Native American outreach
indigenous student as well however you want to do the query yeah those are all
archived on our on our website and we actually do have a specific one that it
deals with this subject matter too that discusses exemption that went over
all of these issues that Don did such a great job going through that we um we
also had some questions on it that were unique to tribal producers so going
through those archives you can kind of see the types of questions and we
respond to Thanks we have a good question about
talking a little bit more about the record-keeping requirements to show a
qualified exemption specifically if a grower sells at a farmers market and
doesn’t have receipts how can we help them keep records to meet the
requirements of the rule so that’s that’s that’s a great question and here
here I find myself walking that line about compliance issues versus produce
safety issues so I just want to make very clear that anything that we say as
educators should always have the caveat of my best understanding is this is
probably a good idea if you need the definitive answer send your plan to the
technical assistance network to make sure that it is going to meet the
requirements of the produce safety rule when implementation comes out your farm
that is already keeping their financial records for tax purposes would have a
reason it would have an idea of what their total sales are at a farmers
market my belief is that the presumption is that every buyer at a farmers market
is going to be the consumer so that each one of those by so that those sales at a
farm market would be qualified to to qualify I’m tied to qualified end-users
that she’s got a frown on her face so she’s not sure whether that’s a great
answer but out but I’ll let anybody else who has more input to that and in
particular you know if anyone who is going to be involved in the
implementation of the rule would like to speak up on what they expect to see that
be this would be a great opportunity for you to chime in annalisa this is Betsy I think this is a
great question in the sense of how do we help them keep track of what they meet
and where prior to the rule coming in where this came up a lot was in
traceability and helping growers understand you know trying to trace
product at things like farmers markets where they take a variable amount and
one of the recommendations we’ve given growers is to write down the volume of
what they take to markets and what they should be coming back with at the end of
them like how much they should be making and
a couple of positive things came back about that from growers that they said
was beneficial not only for record-keeping but also for their farm
one was that certain farm markets sell certain commodities more than others and
some growers had a harder time tracking this but by doing this for
record-keeping purposes they were able to realize okay if I go to this market I
should take more Tomatoes if I go to this market I should take more cucumbers
so that was one positive outcome the other positive outcome was this issue of
knowing how much money they should be coming back with and I think this one
plays not only on the individual farmers that go to farmers markets but the
people that hire people to go to the farmers markets for them what kind of
income am I expecting off of that market and I think this starts to get it the
question of things we could recommend to help them understand you know records
that they might have to Don’s point we’re not I wouldn’t say I’m entirely
sure what an inspector would expect from that we haven’t gone through inspector
training I know Teresa is on the is on the phone and she might have an opinion
about that but I think those are the kind of things that I would recommend
and things we have recommended to growers that are beneficial not only for
meeting those certain requirements but for understanding their markets growing
their markets keeping track of their income so I always like to see it I
always like to see growers get the most out of a practice they’re going to
implement and so is something like that to me would be a solution or a
suggestion I wonder if anyone else would like to
chime in on that as particularly the other panelists who work so much with
small farms I just wanted to chime in very quickly
that having taught food safety liability and food safety law for 30 years your
records are vital if anything ever untoward happens and nobody wants it to
happen but I think what is common over commonly overlooked and Dawn and while
all the presenters today talked about it is knowledge is power the more
information you can actually walk through by attending one of these
trainings anywhere it might be the better your
operation is going to be and the better prepared your records are going to be
and you must be equipped in a deeper way to respond to anything that might come
along in the future this is Kara from the National Young Farmers coalition
certainly I see a lot of business benefits from keeping all of those
records both for my food safety standpoint and you know financially I
also think probably that if a farm is selling exclusively at a farmers market
exclusively at farmers markets and CSAs that my guess would be if that was if
all of your markets were direct that you could just show your Schedule F do you
think that would be true well anyone this is Janie anyone who actually does
Schedule F or is going to be in a tax form it’s always going to be in a better
situation with regard to their business plan and their records anyway I would
just say that as a general matter but I think you’re correct this is Janie and I
know we don’t have a specific question about this done but I did want to just
kind of let everybody know you might be listening in that a lot of the questions
that all of us on the phone call here are as presenters are getting when we go
out and do trainings and visit with producers and growers they are there are
way harder than we ever anticipated likely and they’re always you know
thinking of things in a new twist might not have ever been discussed
before and I think that’s the beauty of this arrangement and how this is
actually rolling out is that you have the you have a wider group of people who
are immersed in these issues that can literally do our best to if we don’t
know the answer to track down the answer great point the I want to address us a
question that that Gretchen already answered and but it’s a short and easy
one so so let me just say that the person had asked whether there was going
to be an online version of the Preity produce safety Alliance curriculum and
the answer is we are working on that and we’re planning to put that forward as
soon as reasonably we can in 2018 so I’m going to read this question and then I’m
going to think of it think about it actually there are two questions in the
chat box do you know how or if the list of exempt produce products will be
evaluated and changed dr. bill Tracy University of Wisconsin plant breeder is
developing a breed of sweet corn designed to be eaten raw which affects
sweet corn because sweet corn is on the is on the commodities rarely consumed
raw list so the list of products not eaten raw may change as consumer
preferences change that the process of how that rarely consumed raw list was
created is is is in the FDA factsheet so I would I would have some expectation
that the FDA at their discretion would re-evaluate the list of products that
are consumed raw and in light of the fact she would that would discuss the
process that one would expect them to go through because we know what process was
they went through in the past that’s my best answer that’s anybody else have a
better answer for that I would just say we we talk about this a lot about this
kind of crazy list of rarely consumed raw a lot in the trainings and just say
that for diversified growers it’s just much easier to treat everything as if it
were covered and every because we know that our consumers are eating things you
know kale salad or collard salad or you know eating things raw that maybe the
FDA does not eat raw or you know the FDA is not considered usually consumed raw
and so I think that um that’s that’s my usually my general advice but I don’t
know if that list will change or not of course yeah I think that that that that
that allows us to make the point that the produce safety rule is a set of
minimum expectations it’s a set of minimum requirements and we always do
encourage people to go beyond if they are worried about the safety of the
produce then take the appropriate measures to control the safety of the
produce I think that’s a really good point go ahead please I just wanted to
add that um I think there are also people they’re also items people think
should be on the list of really consumed raw that aren’t so there’s also I think
the best day will probably look at that again at some point and if you are
growing a produce that you think should be on the list that’s something that you
can vocalize to us and we can bring that back to the FDA and hopefully have a
conversation about it great I’m going to move to the next
question if nobody else has anything to add I’ll pause for just a second okay
there’s a slide that that I did go through fairly quickly dealing with
farms that buy produce for resale in terms of labeling there are CSA farms
that buy some items to add to their boxes of produce on a weekly basis so
how does the produce rule impact those farms that are buying their produce dead
– their CSA box and especially the case of a large farm that’s not exempt buying
from a small farm that is exempt and assuming that that large farm is not a
qualified end-user for the small farm that sells so the sales impact in outlet
could impact whether they’re exempt or not those are so the first I have a couple
of things that I know are useful I sent one question to the den about if a farm
is selling both produce that they grew and produce that they bought it doesn’t
count into their business size calculations in the answer from the purp
from the technical assistance network was yes it’s the produce that they sell
regardless of whether they grow it or not so that was that was a useful piece
of information another piece of information is that the qualified
end-user can be a consumer but the consumer is not a business so the large
farm that’s buying it is not a consumer the the large farm would only be a
qualified end-user if it fit within the definition of a retailer or a restaurant
that’s the best I have and I wonder if anybody has other inputs on that Don
this is Theresa from the produce safety network in the northern region thank you
and what you and what you just reiterated about the produce neither the
produce safety rule or FSMA differentiate between the source of the
produce and so as you mentioned whether or not the farm grows the produce or it
purchases that produce that all is included in total produce sales
so and another thing I’d like to mention is when we’re talking about qualified
exemptions it is the farm that has the qualified exemption not the business
that is purchasing the produce from the farm so the farm qualifies for the
exemption and they have certain requirements for providing labeling or
statements on the Bill of Lading etc to let let the buyer know where that
produce is grown but they cannot control what happens down stream so the
qualified exemption is for the farmer so I have a if I understand the question
right I think this is this this is a really interesting scenario that you
have a qualified exempt farm selling to a another farm so the so the the farm
that is not eligible for qualified exemption is buying produce that may or
may not have been grown under the conditions of produce safety rule but
then reselling it ends so then the question that if I understand the
question right what is the impact on that large farm because they didn’t grow
it so they didn’t follow produce it so they they followed part of safety rule
for the produce that they grow but the produce that they bought may or may not
have been grown under conditions of proto safety rule how does protists
safety will impact the large farm in that case I wonder if anybody has
thoughts on that go ahead I was just gonna say that the produce safety rule
applies to that large firm or large firm and the produce they’re growing the
Supplemental farm if they do qualify for the qualified exemption have the
modified have to follow the modified a regulation that that modified labeling
requirement yeah so what the large farm have to pass on that information from
the modified label when they sell that produce that’s a good question yeah we
just came up with another question for the ten didn’t wait yes we did because
like I say I do know that the qualified exemption as you stated applies to the
farm there is a farm who is eligible for that qualified exemption and as long as
they fulfill their requirements they are not responsible for what
happens downstream that large firm firm I’m not exactly sure and and and I if I
can take a soapbox moment one thing that I one thing that I like to tell the
classes is that the produce safety rule is a young rule and and there’s a
maturation process and I think we’re going to learn a lot as the
implementation rolls out and guidance comes out about about questions like
that John I think I answered your question you had you had written a
follow-up that said you were interested in both farms the buying farm and the
selling farm and I believe we covered both of those situations so if you did
have a follow-up please post a follow-up the great question from Carly
Tyler was examples of issues that might be particularly Native American farms
and I know who I want to call out on this question
Janie would you like to handle that well that’s that’s a very broad question you
know I’m not going to I don’t want to extend us into another hour
what I will request anyone who actually posted that question to do is to
literally go over to our website and pull out the archived webinars where we
literally go through each section of the grower training curriculum and and
entertain questions that are unique and Betsy you’ve actually been at the one of
our trained to trainers that we sponsored and that they can you know
jump in here and affirm that we had an entire parking lot full of issues that
were extremely unique to to native producers and were deeply tied to have
the rules themselves iterate an effect or not the reality of where the food is
grown and if it’s grown on tribal land because they because the the iteration
of the rules does not necessarily speak to land there
are the differences data from state specifically and so you also have some
with some uniqueness around what can be considered under federal law a autumn of
covered produce if you will but which is also a crop that is a traditional or
sacred crop and culturally unique to that particular tribe and what I will
tell you is that these are the types of questions that we get when we go out and
do training and many of the questions have yet to be fully vetted and
responded to because they are literally questions of first impressions for both
the federal government as well as the folks who are you know kind of in the
trenches with Don and Betsy and and Chelsea and Cara and literally standing
up the training so if the requester has a specific question they want to visit
with me about I’m happy to do that and our contact information was on that
previous slide but sometimes the responses have to do with the
jurisdiction and the land base and the status of the land base and sometimes
the questions have to do is the actual crop itself I hope that makes sense
yeah and I’ll just as since Janie mentioned that I was I will just back up what
she’s saying there’s I think if you’re not familiar with it you you may have
one view of things that is more simple than you might think it might be and
there is there’s a lot of jurisdiction issues there’s a lot of I think legal
issues sovereignty issues as well as as Janie pointed out that the commodities
themselves have different there’s different perspectives and out there so
yeah I think that’s what’s great about having the Native American food safety
training is they can help navigate some of that and and it’s good to know
as Janie said there’s a whole list of things that maybe aren’t answered but
it’s good to know what you know and it’s good to know maybe what you don’t know
but that’s that’s why they’re a wonderful resource for that thank you
Annalisa put something in the textbox that I think is valuable to capture life
is that the the North Central Regional Center up in Iowa is capturing grower
training questions and they do plan to send some of the grower training
questions and answers if I understand right – PSA trainers to help them have a
have an arsenal of the types of questions that people ask with with some
good answers that have been vetted this is Lisa from produce Safety Network and I’d like to add that all of your questions
mase should be submitted to that are unanswered should be submitted to the
tan what the tan does is that they receive repeat questions they prioritize
those and they’re putting them into a frequently asked questions document in
addition they use those to prioritize future guidance that will be developed
by FDA so continued questions submitted to the tan are helpful that’s great thank you there was there
was one question in the chat box about a gap straining and whether the gaps
training has changed in the past years and the Gretchen did a nice job of
clarifying in the chat box again that the gaps training is different from the
produce safety rule training that the gaps training is a great foundational
information about produce safety practices and that the produce safety
rule training also covers the regulatory requirements so we are five minutes from
the end does anybody have any other questions that they would like to ask um
this is Cara there was a question in the Q&A not in the chat box that Donna
answered very nicely about third-party auditors aligning audits with FSMA and
I just think that out to the rest of the listeners you’re going to read what
Donna said yeah they’re either you or Donna either way I’m not sure we haven’t
done a sound check on Donna so it’s probably even great if you did it okay
so the the attendee asked are third-party auditors like USDA
harmonized gaps etc aligning audits with asthma yet water testing standards etc
and Donna answered we’re finding that many third party audits are starting to
align their schemes with FSMA USDA harmonized gap and sqf have been working
on alignment and others are releasing educational resources or audit add-ons
to teach growers where FSMA produce safety rule and the schemes
differ auditors and inspectors may be trained differently one is a voluntary
audit and one’s regular of regulatory inspection as we’ve covered but we’re
starting to see some attempts at alignment and I think that kind of gets
to Mary Lou’s question about having attended to gaps training like farmers
are really asking I’m going to need to take both of these trainings and it
sounds like currently the answer is yes but maybe as alignment continues maybe
we will see some some fewer fewer fewer growers need to take both and this is
Betsy Leanne Skelton is is on the group and she
just noted that USDA harmonized is aligned and I’m assuming it’s aligned
with the parts that are aligned a bowl at this point as there’s several parts
that are not aligned amel I’m going to use manure as the example since you know
where that one’s in in a reserved section but but yeah so USDA harmonized
is aligned thank you both and thanks for digging into the answered questions Cara
I had not seen that one come through we do have one last question I suspect
will make that the last question about further inflation and annual sales for
the exemption criteria and how that affects growers so the the the numbers
the twenty five thousand number and and so on will continue to inflate over time
index to 2011 how that affects that that should keep
everything at a steady state as inflation raises the prices of
commodities then so will the so worldly criteria for exemption is this is such a
simplistic answer in Betsy’s laughing so I suspect I’m missing something so does
any I will sound off by saying thanks to everybody for being part of this webinar
it’s been a great experience and I hope it was useful to everyone would anyone
else in the in the group would like to say anything as we end this webinar I’ll
start by saying thanks to everyone who contributed this was a this was an
effort with a lot of collaboration and contributions from from the various
organizations and I appreciate everyone’s every everybody’s inputs to
it I think what I would I would echo that as well and really appreciate
everybody pulling slides together and making it making it a very good
presentation but I think what hopefully has come out of this is one the goal of
talking about why exempt growers might want to come and I to a training and I
think that’s important but I also think it’s important to point out all of the
really diverse aspects that we’re going on here today
whether it was the about the audits the question about
sovereignty native foods native tribes marketing there’s a lot of complexity to
this and I think it’s always good to give information that that is out there
that we know is good information but I think we all have to be aware that there
is still stuff coming out and as I like to say it’s a little bit like standing
on sand you know so what I really appreciate is the level of expertise
around the table and the people willing to sort of fill in those points and in
even on this call we came up with a new question for the tan so I think that I
just want to highlight that and I really appreciate that aspect of what this
webinar drew out so I appreciate Don the organization and I appreciate certainly
all the collaborators and the many people who have sat on a webinar for an
hour and a half which i think is some weird sort of torture but I appreciate
that with that I think we’ll end and I want
to thank everyone again we will send a follow-up email if not today then then
soon that includes a lot of the URLs the contact information and I think there
have been a lot of great questions and a lot of connections made amongst the
participants the panel and everyone else so so we so we can continue working with
growers about produce safety so with that thank you everyone and I hope you
have a lovely weekend

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