Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
   
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

September 29, 2017

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Training Resources for Farms Implementing New Food Safety Standards

Department Adopts Produce Safety Standards in Compliance with the FDAs Food Safety Modernization Act

Announces Additional Educational and Training Resources through the Department and Cornell University to Provide Food Facilities and Farms with Tools to Meet New Requirements

Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets is holding several training sessions for farms implementing new food safety standards under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).   FSMA is the most sweeping reform of the country’s food safety laws, signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011.  It aims to shift the United States’ policies on food safety from a reactive to a proactive, preventative approach.

Commissioner Ball said, “As the Department begins to implement the regulatory requirements put forth by the FSMA rules, we are working with our partners to foster awareness and compliance among our farmers through guidance, education, and technical assistance. We know that these new regulations will be a change in the way many of our growers do business and we want the agricultural community to have the tools, training and resources they need to make this transition.”

The Department adopted two of the FSMA rules earlier this summer. These two regulations set new food safety requirements for facilities that process, package or store food for people and for farms growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce. The regulations require that food facilities and farms implement preventive, science-based strategies to prevent foodborne illnesses.

To help increase awareness of the new produce regulations and encourage compliance from the businesses and farms impacted by FSMA, the Department has been hosting multiple outreach training events in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, various grower associations and retailers. The Department’s goal is to educate processors and growers about the new rules, and provide an opportunity to hear from the agricultural community.  The next outreach sessions are tied to upcoming produce events today, Friday, September 29 at the Department; Tuesday, October 17 in Geneva; and December 11-14 in New York City.  More information can be found at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/FS/general/fsma.html.    

The Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule and Training
The Department has oversight of more than 4,000 registered food facilities, including manufacturers, processors, warehouses, storage tanks and grain elevators in New York. Under the new preventive control rules, most food facilities will be required to have a written food safety and action plan that evaluates hazards reasonably likely to occur in food, such as pathogens and allergens.  The plan will also need to specify steps to minimize or prevent those hazards from occuring. Food facilities will also be required to designate a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), create a recall plan and verify their supply-chain.  

To provide food manufacturers with the tools to meet the regulatory requirements, Cornell’s Institute for Food Safety Institute is offering Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Training.   To register for the training, businesses can visit https://dairyextension.foodscience.cornell.edu/programs/regulatory.

The Produce Safety Rule and Training
The second regulation, the Produce Safety Rule, requires that farms meet certain standards for the production, harvesting, storage and packing of fruits and vegetables in the areas of:

  • Irrigation and other agricultural water;
  • Farm worker hygiene;
  • Manure and other additions to the soil;
  • Intrusion of animals in the growing fields; and
  • Sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools.

As part of the regulatory requirements included in FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule, growers must also take Produce Safety Training provided by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA).   The PSA is a collaborative effort among Cornell University, the United States Department of Agriculture and FDA.   Through a FDA-funded cooperative agreement, the Department will supplement the cost of this required training. To register for the training, visit: https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu.

Additional Resources
In addition, the Department will also collaborate with the PSA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, growers and retailers to assist farms with On-Farm Readiness Reviews. The On-Farm Readiness Review will allow trained experts from the Department, Cornell and other organizationsto visit a farm and associated cleaning, hulling, sorting, packing and storage facilities to help educate growers/management become compliant with the Produce Safety Rule. Growers interested in taking part of the on-farm readiness review, can email the Department at: Aaron.Finley@agriculture.ny.gov or Steve.Schirmer@agriculture.ny.gov.

For more information on the FSMA rules, visit the FSMA section of the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/FS/general/fsma.html.

Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, said, “Through these collaborative training sessions, Cornell food safety experts contribute to the continuing vibrancy of NYS agriculture by helping our growers meet FSMA requirements. To date, through the Produce Safety Alliance and Cornell Cooperative Extension, our training programs have reached thousands of growers across the United States and abroad. As NYS’ Land Grant university, and with our partners in the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, we are committed to supporting our state’s growers, packers, cooperatives and others.”

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President, said, “The Food Safety Modernization Act will present challenges for many of our farmers. New York Farm Bureau is pleased to partner with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on this outreach effort to educate and train farmers about the expected changes. Food safety is important to farmers and consumer alike, and it is imperative we work together to provide information that our family farms need to meet the new FSMA requirements.”

NYAA President Cynthia Haskins said, “Apples are the icon of health and a favorite food of all ages, and New York is the industry leader in the East. It is particularly important that we can reassure consumers that our apples are safe and wholesome, so it behooves our growers, packer/shippers and processors to be ready to comply with the new food safety law of the land.”

For more information on FSMA, please visit the Department’s website at https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/FS/general/fsma.html.

The Department, through its various divisions and programs, promotes New York agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the State’s food supply, land and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York’s agriculture industries.

The Department operates the Great New York State Fair, and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and New York State Grown and Certified programs. Follow the Department on its Facebook page and on Twitter.


2017 Press Releases