LGMA CEO meets FSMA Training Requirement

Over the last several months I’ve talked often about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Produce Safety Rule (PSR).   One of the most important things for our industry to know is the fact that all growers are required to attend a food safety training course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) prior to January 26, 2018.

It recently occurred to me that even though we encourage all leafy greens growers and handlers to attend, and even though we’ve made the workshops a central part of our LGMA Tech training program this year, I had never personally attended one of the training sessions. I’m happy to say that last week I rectified that situation by attending the LGMA Tech PSR training course in Oxnard, California. The course was taught by industry veteran Bob Mills and is presented in seven modules, covering everything from water and soil amendments to worker hygiene and animal intrusions. It’s a rigorous all-day course–one that aggressively covers a lot of ground.

I will admit that going into the workshop, I assumed that leafy greens growers were well ahead of the food safety curve because of their participation in the LGMA food safety program. And it’s true that much of what is in the Produce Safety Rule is more or less a subset of the LGMA Metrics. But I also found the workshop to be a complete and concise presentation of what food safety on the farm is all about.

The course begins with the basics: it communicates why food safety practices are important and clearly states what the federal rules are designed to accomplish. Each module does a good job of laying a foundation, outlining what is in the new federal rules, and explaining what growers should concentrate on as they create their own food safety plans.

Now that I’m an “expert” on what this training is all about, here are some additional thoughts for our industry:

First, don’t look at the PSA training as simply “checking off a box” on the FSMA checklist. Many people in our industry may look at it that way, but this is really a useful and important exercise in creating your food safety program.

Second, use the workshop to look for new elements that need to be added to your program. If you are already following the LGMA Metrics, you are well positioned to comply with the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). But there are some new requirements that come with the PSR, and you will need to comply with those new elements as well. The food safety training mandated by the FDA helps point out some of those areas – like the detailed section on employee training– to which you need to pay attention.

Finally, the LGMA recently updated the Metrics to make them fully comply with the Produce Safety Rule (PSR). Those changes—many of which are addressed in the PSR training—will officially become part of the LGMA audit on April 1, 2018. The LGMA will provide additional training on the Metrics changes this winter to bring you up to speed before they become effective.

Again, the Produce Safety Rule requires each grower of covered produce (or their food safety manager), to attend the PSA’s PSR Grower Training course.

Upcoming LGMA Tech PSR Grower Training courses:

January 10, 2018 
El Centro, CA

January 17, 2018
El Centro, CA

Visit https://lgmatech.com for more information and to register.

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